Ukraine said on Tuesday the last 24 hours were the deadliest of the war so far for Russian forces, as Moscow pressed on with an intensifying winter assault in the east, bringing tens of thousands of freshly mobilized troops to the battlefield.
The Ukrainian claim of more than 1000 Russian troops killed over a day could not be independently verified, and Russia has also claimed to have killed large numbers of Ukrainian troops in recent weeks.
German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius visited Kyiv on Tuesday as Berlin, Denmark, and the Netherlands said they would pool funds to restore Leopard 1 tanks from industry stocks and supply them to Kyiv in the coming months.
Pistorius announced the supply of about 80 Leopard 1s this year and about 100 in 2024, more than previously announced. German Vice Chancellor Robert Halbeck said separately on a visit to Washington that he expected Ukraine to have a double-digit number of Leopard 1 tanks by March but he was not sure how many of the 178 tanks authorized would be sent in total.
Since the New Year, Western countries have pledged hundreds of tanks and armoured vehicles to Ukraine to give it the firepower and mobility to push through Russian lines and recapture territory later this year.
A new US package of weapons is expected to include longer-range rockets, which would give Ukraine the ability to hit Russian supply lines in all of the territories it occupies in Ukraine’s mainland and parts of the Crimea Peninsula.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Twitter he spoke on Tuesday with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken about new military aid, sanctions on Russia and “the preparations of important events” as Russia’s invasion nears its one-year anniversary on February 24.
But it will take months before new weapons arrive, and meanwhile, Russia has replenished its manpower by calling up reservists. The Kremlin says Western supplies of arms only widen and extend the conflict.