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Live updates: Russia’s war in Ukraine

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Live updates: Russia’s war in Ukraine

A Polish Leopard 2 stands in a wooded area during an international military exercise January 27, 2022, at the Hohenfels military training area in Hohenfels, Germany.
A Polish Leopard 2 stands in a wooded area during an international military exercise January 27, 2022, at the Hohenfels military training area in Hohenfels, Germany. (Armin Weigel/picture-alliance/dpa/AP)

Residents in Kyiv have reacted with dismay to Germany’s reluctance to commit to sending its formidable Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, ahead of a possible Russian spring offensive.

They were speaking in the wake of a high-level meeting on Friday of Kyiv’s military backers at the Ramstein Air Base in Germany ended in an impasse on the provision of tanks to Ukraine.

People in the Ukrainian capital told CNN how they felt about western support for the war against Russia. “Well, big thanks for the self-propelled artillery units and howitzers. It’s a good weapon of deterrence, and we really need it,” said a Ukrainian anti-aircraft gunner known as “Sargent.”

“On the other hand, they clearly do not want to provide us with offensive weapons such as tanks. They expect us to liberate our territories, but they are afraid we will go further and enter the territory of the Russian Federation.”

Nikita Matiushenko, an 18-year-old university student, told CNN he thought Ukraine’s allies were playing “political games.” CNN has reported a standoff between the US and Germany, with the latter saying it would only allow its Leopard 2 tanks to be sent to Ukraine if the US supplies Kyiv with its M1 Abrams tank. Defense ministers from the US and Germany later denied any “linkage.”

“Now the West is doing much more. At the beginning of the war, it was not enough at all. They didn’t want to give us some weaponry or gave very little. But now it is much better. Although, in my opinion, way too slow. I am convinced that they could do it faster, but the bureaucracy is in the way,” Matiushenko said, adding that his father has recently returned from fighting in Bakhmut with the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

“I understand well enough how much we need offensive and long-range weapons,” he said.

Beautician Natalia Sihachuk, 50, said she feared the war will not end soon. “In my opinion, we are not getting the aid fast enough. They give us what they want and can give us. Therefore, it will not be timely,” she said, acknowledging that Ukraine will not always get exactly what it wants. She added that Ukraine must “say ‘thank you.’ If not for the help, we would have had even more problems from the very beginning.”

“We are now working not only for our own defense, but also to protect the interests of other countries. That’s why western countries should be more interested in providing us with more aid,” civil servant Artur Myroniuk, 27, told CNN. 

Myroniuk said Ukraine’s allies must quickly provide his country with better air defense systems. He pointed to the January 14 missile strike on a residential building in Dnipro that killed 45 people and injured dozens more.

“We all saw what happened in Dnipro recently. Having seen how children are dying in Ukraine, we need help with air defense,” Myroniuk said.

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