Davos 2023: Lithuania sees tank deliveries to Ukraine, pushes for more support
By John Irish
DAVOS, Switzerland (Reuters) – Lithuania’s foreign minister said on Wednesday he was confident that main battle tanks would be delivered to Ukraine but the West still needed to do more to ensure Kyiv won the war against Russia.
“I’m confident because this is what I’m hearing here, talking with other leaders. There is momentum,” Gabrielius Landsbergis told Reuters in an interview on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum.
After Britain announced it would send Challenger tanks to Ukraine, there was less argument for others not to, he said.
Western allies will be gathering on Friday at the U.S. air base at Ramstein in Germany to pledge more weapons for Ukraine.
Attention is focused in particular on Germany, which has veto power over any decision to send its Leopard tanks, which are fielded by armies across Europe and widely seen as the most suitable for Ukraine.
Berlin says a decision on the tanks will be the first item on the agenda of new defence minister Boris Pistorius.
Landsbergis, whose country is one of Kyiv’s staunchest allies, said a meeting in Estonia ahead of the Ramstein gathering aimed to coordinate support efforts, but that in his eyes the West could not sit on their laurels.
“I think that if we are serious about Ukraine winning at the end we will be sending many more types of weaponry than we are sending now,” he said. “We could do it right now, but we will be waiting for some other imaginary red lines to be crossed because this is the modus operandi we are choosing.”
Britain, which broke the Western taboo on sending main battle tanks over the weekend by promising a squadron of its Challengers, has called on Germany to approve the Leopards. Poland and Finland have already said they would be ready to send Leopards if Berlin allows it. (This story has refiled to add text to the headline)
(Reporting by John Irish; Editing by Frank Jack Daniel and Angus MacSwan)