Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky urged the West to deliver weapons and other support to Ukraine very urgently, saying it was needed to defeat the Russian Goliath.
At the annual Munich conference, and in a speech via a video link, Zelensky said that Russian President Vladimir Putin shouldn’t be allowed to buy time for his aggression, as that would mean the death of more people.
“This is why we must hurry,” he said in English, stressing the importance of “the speed of our agreements, the speed of our handover, and the speed of our decisions to limit Russian power”.
Zelensky urged in English, saying it was the speed on which life depends.
“The delay was always and still is a mistake,” Zelensky said, repeating his call for modern tanks.
He said that Putin wouldn’t let the West in peace for a minute, and the Kremlin would be able to securely destroy all those gathered at this conference.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz took advantage of his speech to urge Western allies to unite efforts to supply combat tanks to Ukraine.
Germany is delivering 14 Leopard 2A6 tanks and, in an unexpectedly slow process, is still looking for partners to equip a Ukrainian battalion with 31 Leopards.
Poland is the main supplier of another battalion of Leopard 2A4 tanks, older than the modern Leopard 2.
Scholz said that increasing these supplies is a precondition for the ability to continue to support Kiev.
Scholz stressed that “this means that all those who can supply such combat tanks are now actually doing so”.
French President Emmanuel Macron made it clear that Ukraine must be in a position to launch a counterattack.
Both Scholz and Macron argued that defending European values is not just about supporting Ukraine with weapons.
Macron said he would like to see plans for major European defense investments in the coming months.
“If we Europeans want peace, we must give ourselves the tools to achieve it,” Macron said.
He expressed his hope that an ambitious joint investment program would be adopted before next summer.
Macron stated, “If Europe wants to defend Europe, it must arm itself, and modernize its manufacturing capacity on European soil”.
For his part, Scholz pledged that Germany, which has the largest economy in Europe, and one of the largest European arms exporters, “will permanently increase its defense spending to 2% of GDP”.
Also on Friday, new German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said he would make every effort to ensure defense spending exceeds the 2% target.