BERLIN — U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin met his newly appointed German counterpart for talks that have taken on a new urgency as Berlin has placed conditions on the delivery of tanks and top Ukrainian officials continue their appeal for them. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz stressed in a call with President Biden that for Germany to unlock a package of Leopard 2 tanks for Ukraine, Washington should send tanks, too, according to a German and a U.S. official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the private conversation. Earlier this week, the United Kingdom became Ukraine’s first backer to pledge to send tanks.
The Biden administration announced Thursday afternoon a new military package for Ukraine worth about $2.5 billion that includes 59 Bradley Fighting Vehicles and 90 Stryker armored personnel carriers. The package will also include restocking of ammunition for howitzers and rocket artillery, as well as 53 mine-resistant vehicles and eight Avenger air defense systems.
Modern Western tanks, though, remain a priority, President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his nightly address Thursday. Ukraine’s foreign affairs and defense ministries also released a statement Thursday describing modern tanks as one of the country’s “most pressing and urgent needs.”
“I thank Mr. Charles Michel, president of the European Council, who was in Kyiv today and who very clearly calls on Europe to make a decision on tanks," Zelensky said Thursday night. “[N]ow we are waiting for a decision from one European capital that will activate the prepared chains of cooperation on tanks. I believe that the strength of German leadership will remain unchanged.”
Here’s the latest on the war and its ripple effects across the globe.
4. From our correspondents
After a 19-year-old war critic’s classmates reported her, Russian authorities charged her as a terrorist. Olesya Krivtsova, a student at Northern Federal University in Arkhangelsk, Russia, posted an Instagram story criticizing Russia’s war in Ukraine shortly after the explosion on the Crimean Bridge in October. Her classmates took a screenshot and reported her to the authorities. Three months later, Russian officials deemed that sufficient to add Krivtsova to a list of terrorists and extremists, on par with the Islamic State, al-Qaeda and the Taliban, and to charge her with discrediting the Russian army under laws adopted in March to stifle public criticism of the war.
The case of Krivtsova, a young student who lives in a remote city near the Arctic Circle, illustrates the depth of intolerance for dissent in wartime Russia, which is targeting not just organized political opposition movements, which have largely been dismantled, but also seemingly harmless individuals, The Post’s Mary Ilyushina reports.
Cunningham reported from Washington, Masih from Seoul and Sands from London. Natalia Abbakumova in Riga, Latvia; Annabelle Chapman in Warsaw; and Alex Horton and John Hudson in Washington contributed to this report.