Moscow Reports Seizure of German "Leopard" Tanks

news 14-Jun-2023 World News

Moscow Reports Seizure of German "Leopard" Tanks

According to Moscow, Russian troops have seized German "Leopard" tanks from Ukraine. Defense Minister Pistorius pledged further military aid, but stated that Germany cannot replace every tank.

Russia claims to have captured several German "Leopard" battle tanks and US Bradley infantry fighting vehicles in Ukraine. "These are our spoils," said the Russian Defense Ministry. A video was also published online in the Telegram service, showing the captured and damaged tanks.

The tanks are believed to belong to the Ukrainian army in the southern region of Zaporizhzhia. The tanks are now being examined. According to the Russian ministry, they were seized by the Russian eastern forces "in combat." Some of the vehicles have "functioning engines," indicating that the battles were of short duration and that Ukrainian troops had "fled" from their positions, the ministry claimed.

Last week, the Russian Defense Ministry reported having destroyed several "Leopard" tanks and released corresponding images.

Security expert doubts Kremlin statements

At present, Moscow's statements cannot be independently verified. However, military experts doubt their credibility. Gustav Carl Maria Gressel, an expert in security policy and senior policy fellow in the Wider Europe Programme at the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR), has called the claim dubious. "The front now runs a few hundred meters south," he wrote on Twitter. The Russian statement should be treated with extreme caution.

Pistorius: Destruction is "part of the nature of war"

German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius also declined to confirm the authenticity of the Russian images in an interview with the "RTL" broadcaster on Monday evening. However, he acknowledged that "Unfortunately, it is part of the nature of war that weapons are destroyed, that tanks are destroyed, and that people are killed. That's why our support for Ukraine is so important."

Therefore, the minister announced additional military aid to Ukraine. "We cannot replace every tank that now fails. But what we will do is continue to supply refurbished Leopard 1 A5 tanks, starting in July," he said on "RTL Direkt." "And by the end of the year, there will be over 100 of them."

Ukraine demands new tank deliveries

Western countries had delivered "Leopard" and "Bradley" tanks to Ukraine. Germany had agreed to supply "Leopard" tanks in January, after some initial hesitation. Ukrainian politicians and members of the coalition and opposition had demanded faster deliveries, in view of the destruction of supplied tanks. "The Ukrainian army urgently needs many more Western battle tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, and other armored vehicles," said Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrij Melnyk in the "Tagesspiegel."

CDU security policy spokesman Roderich Kiesewetter also called for Western supporters of Ukraine to "immediately replace all destroyed equipment, including Leopard tanks and Bradley troop carriers." FDP defense policy spokesman Marcus Faber told the newspaper that "Clear statements on the replacement of lost materials" could "support those who have been attacked in their offensive."

Recently, there were increased reports of attacks on both sides. The Ukrainian city of Kryvyi Rih was hit by rockets on Monday night. According to Ukraine, several people were killed. Attacks from Russian side were also reported. Ukraine allegedly attacked villages in the Russian region of Kursk early the morning. Currently, the reports of attacks on both sides cannot be independently verified.

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