Berlin announced plans Wednesday to send German-made Leopard 2 main battle tanks to Ukraine after weeks of international pressure. Germany will send 14 tanks from its own military stocks and begin training Ukrainian forces on German territory, the government said, adding that it would also “issue the appropriate transfer permits” enabling other European nations to reexport their Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine.
The decision came as the Biden administration also announced that it would provide 31 M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, despite previous concerns that they might require too much training and maintenance for Ukrainian forces.
“To liberate their land, they need to be able to counter Russia’s evolving tactics and strategy on the battlefield in the very near term,” President Biden said of the Ukrainians in remarks at the White House.
In his evening address Wednesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky thanked German Chancellor Olaf Scholz for the Leopard tanks and Biden for the Abrams tanks. “The key thing now is speed and volume,” Zelensky said. “The speed of training of our military; the speed of supplying tanks to Ukraine; the volume of tank support.”
On the battlefield, a Ukrainian military chief confirmed to The Washington Post that his forces had withdrawn from the eastern town of Soledar. Russia’s capture of the small salt mining city in the eastern Donetsk region marks its first significant territorial gain since July.
Here’s the latest on the war and its ripple effects across the globe.
4. From our correspondents
These Russians, evading call-up to Ukraine, live in a Seoul airport: The Russian men now have inside jokes with the South Korean staff they see at 6 p.m. every day at the Burger King in Terminal 1. They spend their days walking around, smoking cigarettes or learning Korean. They wash their clothes with bathroom soap. For these five men who fled Russia to avoid conscription in the war against Ukraine, Incheon International Airport has been their temporary home for the past three months, The Post’s Michelle Ye Hee Lee reports.
They arrived at the airport, located about 32 miles west of Seoul, in October and November seeking asylum. But South Korea, which has a low rate of accepting refugees, deemed them unqualified to even apply and rejected their applications. The men appealed the decision, and three of them will find out on Tuesday whether their appeal will be accepted.
John Hudson, Vanessa Guinan-Bank, Rick Noack, Robyn Dixon, Emily Rauhala, Natalia Abbakumova and Amar Nadhir contributed to this report.