Ukraine: we have shown we can defeat Russians, we need more weapons

·1 min read
German Foreign Minister Baerbock and her Ukrainian counterpart Kuleba attend joint news conference in Kyiv

KYIV (Reuters) - The success of a counter-offensive against Russia shows Ukraine can beat Moscow's forces but Kyiv needs more weapons from its partners, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Saturday.

Earlier on Saturday, Moscow abandoned its main bastion in northeastern Ukraine in a sudden collapse of one of the war's principal front lines after Ukrainian forces made a rapid advance.

Kuleba, speaking at a news conference with visiting German counterpart Annalena Baerbock, said some allies had initially been hesitant to send weapons, citing the risk of antagonising Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"Now, thank God, we are no longer hearing this argument ... we have demonstrated we are capable of defeating the Russian army. We are doing that with weapons given to us," he said.

"And so I reiterate: the more weapons we receive, the faster we will win, and the faster this war will end."

Although Germany has sent self-propelled howitzers to Ukraine, Kyiv also wants Leopard main battle tanks, Marder infantry fighting vehicles and Gepard anti-aircraft tanks.

Kuleba, who in the past has criticised Germany for what he says is its slowness in sending weapons, complained Ukraine was paying the price for internal debates.

"Every day, while someone in Berlin is considering, taking advice, or consulting on whether to give tanks or not ... someone dies in Ukraine, due to the fact that the tank didn't arrive," he said.

Baerbock promised further military aid and did not rule out the delivery of Western-style main battle tanks.

"I know that time is of the essence," she said. "The next few weeks and months will be crucial."

(Reporting by Reuters; Writing by David Ljunggren; Editing by Matthew Lewis)