Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky held his military conference with civil servants outside the capital Kiev – the first time, according to his own reports. The conference took place in the industrial city of Dnipro, where many arms factories are located. Meanwhile, other weapons, such as German Panther tanks, arrived in Ukraine from the west, which the country wants to use to recapture Russian-held areas.
“We discussed the general situation in the front areas, strengthening and protecting our borders along the entire front – from the Kherson region to the Kharkiv region,” Zelensky said in his daily video address on Monday. He did not give details on the outcome of the meeting.
The 45-year-old also visited Zaporizhia and the towns of Nikopol and Marhanets in the Dnipropetrovsk region, which are often hit by Russian rocket attacks. “Today Russian rockets hit residential buildings in Zaporizhia,” Zelensky said. These caught fire and were partly destroyed. He again accused Moscow of targeting terrorism against civilians. “But our soldiers, whom we visited today in Zaporizhia, know very well what it takes to drive the enemy out of our country.”
In particular, weapons are needed, as Zelensky never tires of insisting. Meanwhile, the Ukrainian Armed Forces have also received 18 modern Cheetah 2A6 main battle tanks from Germany to counter the Russian offensive. “Yes, we delivered the Leopard tanks as announced,” German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) said in Rotterdam on Monday. According to the Defense Ministry in Berlin, ammunition and spare parts, as well as two Buffalo-type armored recovery vehicles and a German-trained crew, have also arrived in Ukraine. Additionally, 40 Mortar infantry fighting vehicles are already in the country.
Together with Sweden and Portugal, the central government has committed to a battle group. Pistorius said: “To restore it, Germany has provided four more tanks than initially planned. You can count on us!”
According to his ministry, the next step is to supply the old Leopard 1A5 main battle tanks. These are currently being fixed by German industry. So tank repairs are financed by Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands. The aim is to deliver the first 25 tanks by the summer and around 80 by the end of the year, increasing to at least 100 Leopard 1A5s by 2024.
In addition to Leopard tanks, Ukraine received other models from Western countries. “Today I had the honor to test the new additions to our armed forces with the head of the Ukrainian Airborne Forces Major General Maksim “Mike” Myrhorodsky and our paratroopers: the Challenger from Great Britain, the Stryker and the Cougar from the United States and the Marder from Germany,” Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said on his agency’s Facebook on Monday. Page stated that he was convinced that the new technology would “make good company on the battlefield” for previously supplied weapons systems.
Reznikov thanked Western arms support. A year ago, such efforts by partners would have been unthinkable. He wrote that the whole “civilized world” now opposes the Russian aggressor and will help Ukraine win.
President Zelensky and International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Rafael Grossi visited the hydroelectric plant in Zaporizhia on Monday. “The hydroelectric plant is an essential part of the system that maintains the nuclear safety of the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant,” Grozy wrote on Twitter. Selensky showed damage to the dam. The men also discussed measures to secure a Russian-controlled nuclear power plant 50 kilometers away. In the next few days, Grosi plans to travel to the Russian-occupied zone around the shuttered nuclear power plant in southeastern Ukraine for the second time since the fall.
Finland’s head of government, Sanna Marin, thanked Hungary on Monday for approving Finland’s entry into NATO and supported the speedy accession of neighboring Sweden. “Finland and Sweden’s NATO membership strengthens the security of the entire alliance,” the prime minister wrote on Twitter shortly after the vote in the Hungarian parliament. It is “in everyone’s interest” for Sweden to become a member of the alliance ahead of the next NATO summit in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius in July.
Earlier on Monday, 182 Hungarian members of parliament voted in favor of Finland joining NATO, and six voted against. Only Türkiye’s approval is still pending. After much hesitation, the government in Ankara recently announced that it does not intend to block Finland’s access.
What does the day bring?
This year’s “Summit for Democracy” begins on Tuesday, a virtual summit launched by US President Joe Biden two years ago, in which the Ukrainian side will also be represented. War was one of the main topics of the international summit.