Poland asks Berlin to OK Ukraine tanks; Kyiv targets graft

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Poland has formally requested permission from Germany to switch its Leopard 2 battle tanks to Ukraine the place they may also help combat Russia’s invasion, Polish Protection Minister Mariusz Błaszczak mentioned Tuesday.

German officers confirmed to the dpa information company that they had obtained the applying and mentioned it will be assessed “with due urgency.” German Overseas Minister Annalena Baerbock mentioned Sunday that Berlin, which builds the tanks, wouldn’t search to cease Poland from offering the high-tech armor to Kyiv.

The event got here as Ukrainian authorities moved to crack down on alleged corruption, with nearly a dozen senior officers departing Tuesday.

Błaszczak, the Polish protection minister, appealed to Germany “to affix the coalition of nations supporting Ukraine with Leopard 2 tanks” — a reference to current strain on Berlin to ship a few of its personal tanks. Germany has hesitated to take that step, regardless of Ukraine’s pleas. The tank is adaptable to many kinds of fight conditions.

“That is our frequent trigger, as a result of it’s in regards to the safety of the entire of Europe!” Błaszczak tweeted.

NATO Secretary Common Jens Stoltenberg on Tuesday referred to as for the speedy supply of latest weapons to Ukraine, the place a broad battlefield stalemate is predicted to present strategy to new offensives within the spring.

“At this significant second within the warfare, we have to present Ukraine with heavier and extra superior methods, and we have to do it quicker,” Stoltenberg mentioned Tuesday after talks with German Protection Minister Boris Pistorius in Berlin.

Polish officers have indicated that Finland and Denmark are prepared to affix Warsaw in sending Leopards to Ukraine. Poland desires to ship an organization of the tanks, which suggests 14 of them, however they might barely make an impression in a warfare that entails 1000’s of tanks. If different international locations contribute, Warsaw reckons, the tank detachment may develop to a brigade measurement.

In Kyiv, in the meantime, the deputy head of Ukraine’s presidential workplace give up Tuesday after President Volodymyr Zelenskyy pledged to launch a employees shake-up amid high-level corruption allegations.

Kyrylo Tymoshenko requested to be relieved of his duties, in response to a web-based copy of a decree signed by Zelenskyy and Tymoshenko’s personal social media posts. Neither gave a cause for the resignation.

Deputy Protection Minister Viacheslav Shapovalov additionally resigned, native media reported, alleging his departure was linked to a scandal involving the acquisition of meals for the Ukrainian Armed Forces. Deputy Prosecutor Common Oleksiy Symonenko give up, too.

In all, 4 deputy ministers and 5 regional governors have been set to depart their posts, the nation’s cupboard secretary mentioned on the Telegram messaging app.

With Western allies pouring billions of {dollars} into Ukraine to assist Kyiv’s combat in opposition to Moscow, Zelenskyy had pledged to weed out corruption which some observers have described as endemic. Zelenskyy got here to energy in 2019 on an anti-establishment and anti-corruption platform.

Tymoshenko joined the presidential workplace in 2019, after engaged on Zelenskyy’s media and artistic content material technique throughout his presidential marketing campaign.

Final yr he was underneath investigation referring to his private use of luxurious vehicles. He was additionally amongst officers linked final September to the embezzlement of humanitarian help price greater than $7 million earmarked for the southern Zaporizhzhia area. He has denied all of the allegations.

On Sunday, a deputy minister was dismissed for being a part of a community embezzling finances funds. Ukraine’s infrastructure ministry later recognized the dismissed official as Vasyl Lozynsky, a deputy minister there.

Oleksandr Kubrakov, the infrastructure minister, mentioned Lozynsky was relieved of his duties after Ukraine’s anti-corruption company detained him whereas he was receiving a $400,000 bribe for serving to to repair contracts associated to restoring infrastructure services battered by Russian missile strikes.

In his nightly video tackle, Zelenskyy mentioned that Ukraine’s deal with the warfare wouldn’t cease his authorities from tackling corruption.

“I wish to be clear: There will likely be no return to what was prior to now,” Zelenskyy mentioned.

The anti-corruption drive is significant if Ukraine desires to advance its software for membership of the European Union. To achieve EU membership, international locations should meet an in depth host of financial and political situations, together with a dedication to the rule of legislation and different democratic rules.

Final June, the European Union agreed Thursday to place Ukraine on a path towards EU membership, performing with uncharacteristic velocity and unity to drag the embattled nation additional away from Russia’s affect and bind it extra carefully to the West.

Ukraine has lengthy aspired to affix NATO, too, however the navy alliance just isn’t about to supply an invite, partially due to the nation’s corruption, shortcomings in its protection institution, and its contested borders.

In different developments:

Ukraine’s presidential workplace mentioned Tuesday that a minimum of 5 civilians have been killed and 7 others have been wounded in Ukraine over the earlier 24 hours. One Russian rocket hit a faculty in japanese Ukraine, killing one individual, Donetsk area Gov. Pavlo Kyrylenko mentioned on Ukrainian TV.

Russian forces additionally shelled 9 cities and villages within the northern Sumy area, which borders Russia, killing a younger girl and wounding three different folks, native Gov. Dmytro Zhyvytskyy reported on Telegram. He mentioned the casualties all lived in the identical home, which suffered a direct artillery hit.


Observe the AP’s protection of the warfare at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

Andrew Meldrum, The Related Press

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