Also with a view to the expected new weapons aid, the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj sees his country in a decisive phase. "We have to shape the spring in such a way that it is really noticeable that Ukraine is moving towards victory," Zelenskyy said in his evening video message on Wednesday.
Selenskyj referred to the massive losses that Russia is currently suffering every day at the front in eastern Ukraine, according to experts. This phase must now be used for military successes by the Ukrainian army, he explained: "Our task is to ensure that there (in Russia) there is less and less effort to keep Ukrainian areas occupied."
Meanwhile, Federal Defense Minister Boris Pistorius (SPD) had to admit that the so-called armored coalition for Ukraine, which Russia attacked a year ago, will probably miss its target for the time being. And there was also a setback from London - with a view to possible fighter jet deliveries - from the Ukrainian point of view.
Ukraine: Six suspected spy balloons
According to the authorities, several suspected spy balloons have been discovered over Kiev. The Ukrainian Air Force registered "around six enemy air targets" and shot down a few, the Kiev military administration said. According to initial findings, these are balloons floating in the wind, which could be equipped with reflectors or secret service equipment.
The Russians may have sent the balloons to help locate Ukrainian anti-aircraft positions, it said. In order to obtain more detailed information, the shot down objects are now being thoroughly examined.
German tank coalition misses target
For the time being, Ukraine will not receive the number of main battle tanks promised by Germany. According to Pistorius, no new commitments for Leopard 2A6 tanks were made at a meeting of the so-called tank coalition. Accordingly, only Germany and Portugal want to deliver this model. "We won't reach battalion strength there," admitted the SPD politician.
On January 25, the federal government announced the goal of "rapidly assembling two tank battalions with Leopard 2 tanks for Ukraine." In Ukraine, these are usually equipped with 31 tanks each. At the end of last week, Chancellor Olaf Scholz was still optimistic that the goal could be achieved.
In Great Britain, Defense Secretary Ben Wallace has also dampened Ukraine's hopes for fast deliveries of fighter jets. "I don't think that we will necessarily deliver fighter jets in the coming months or even years, because they are very different weapon systems than, say, anti-tank missiles," Wallace said in a BBC interview.
Inspector General confirms Leopard schedule
At the same time, the Inspector General of the German Armed Forces, Eberhard Zorn, confirmed that German tanks would soon be used in Ukraine. "I assume that our leopards and martens will be used in Ukraine in March," Zorn told the "Welt". It took a while to organize majorities for the delivery, but now the following applies: "If we decide to deliver a weapon system, then we will also make it sustainable. In other words: with the appropriate spare parts packages and the associated ammunition."
The Bundeswehr began training Ukrainian soldiers on the Leopard 2 main battle tank on Monday. It should be completed by the end of the first quarter. The federal government has also promised Ukraine 14 Leopard 2A6s.
Blinking at the Munich Security Conference
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken attends the Munich Security Conference. The US State Department said he wants to discuss further support for Ukraine there in bilateral and multilateral meetings. Blinken will also continue to travel to Turkey and Greece afterwards.
What is important today
At the opening of the Berlinale in the evening, the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj is to be connected via video. The festival spoke of "a special honor".