Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has held his military briefing with the general staff outside of the capital Kiev - according to his own statements for the first time. The briefing took place in the industrial city of Dnipro, where there are many armaments factories. Meanwhile, other weapons, such as German Leopard tanks, have arrived in Ukraine from the West, which the country plans to use to recapture Russian-held territories.
Selenskyj is informed about the situation at the front
"We discussed the general situation in the front areas, strengthening and protecting our borders along the entire front - from the Kherson region to the Kharkiv region," Zelenskyy said in his daily video address on Monday. He did not provide details about the results of the meeting.
The 45-year-old also visited Zaporizhia and the cities of Nikopol and Marhanets in the Dnipropetrovsk region, which are often exposed to Russian rocket attacks. "Today Russian rockets hit residential buildings in Zaporizhia," said Zelenskyy. These went up in flames and were partially destroyed. He again accused Moscow of targeted terror against the civilian population. "But our soldiers, whom we visited in Zaporizhia today, know exactly what they need to drive the enemy out of our country."
Leopard main battle tanks are in Ukraine
In particular, weapons are needed, as Zelenskyy never tires of emphasizing. In the meantime, the Ukrainian armed forces have also received 18 modern Leopard 2A6 main battle tanks from Germany to ward off the Russian attack. "Yes, we delivered the Leopard tanks as announced," said Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) in Rotterdam. According to the Ministry of Defense in Berlin, ammunition and spare parts as well as two Buffalo-type armored recovery vehicles and the German-trained crews also arrived in Ukraine. In addition, 40 Marder infantry fighting vehicles are already in the country.
"As promised, our tanks arrived on time in the hands of our Ukrainian friends. I am sure that they can do something important at the front," said Defense Minister Boris Pistorius (SPD). Together with Sweden and Portugal, the federal government has promised a battle group. Pistorius said: "In order to redeem that, Germany even delivered four tanks more than initially planned. You can rely on us!"
According to his ministry, the next step will be to deliver older Leopard 1A5 main battle tanks. These are currently being repaired by German industry. The tank repair is therefore financed by Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands. The aim is to provide the first 25 tanks by the summer, around 80 by the end of the year and to increase to at least 100 Leopard 1A5s in the course of 2024.
Kyiv confirms receipt of German Marder armored personnel carriers
In addition to the Leopard tanks, Ukraine received other models from Western countries. "Today I had the honor, together with the head of the Ukrainian airborne troops, Major General Maxim "Mike" Myrhorodskyj, and our paratroopers to test the new additions to our armed forces: the Challenger from Great Britain, the Stryker and Cougar from the USA and the Marder from Germany " Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said on his agency's Facebook page on Monday. He was convinced that the new technology would "make good company on the battlefield" for previously delivered weapon systems.
Resnikov thanked for the western arms help. A year ago, such efforts by the partners would have been unthinkable. The entire "civilized world" is now resisting the Russian aggressor and will help Ukraine to win, he wrote.
Selenskyj and Grossi visit Zaporizhia in southern Ukraine
President Zelenskyy and the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Grossi, visited a hydroelectric power station in Zaporizhia on Monday. "The hydroelectric power station is an essential part of the system that maintains the nuclear safety of the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant," Grossi wrote on Twitter. Selenskyj showed him damage to the dam. The men also discussed measures to protect the nuclear power plant, which is under Russian control and is about 50 kilometers away. In the next few days, Grossi wants to travel to the Russian-occupied area around the shut down nuclear power plant in south-eastern Ukraine for the second time since the fall.
Finland's NATO membership is drawing near
Finland's head of government, Sanna Marin, thanked Hungary on Monday for ratifying Finland's entry into NATO and also advocated swift admission by neighboring Sweden. "Finland's and Sweden's NATO membership strengthens the security of the entire alliance," wrote the prime minister on Twitter shortly after the vote in the Hungarian parliament. It is "in everyone's interest" that Sweden also become a member of the alliance before the next NATO summit in Lithuania's capital Vilnius in July.
Earlier on Monday, 182 Hungarian MPs voted in favor of Finland's admission to NATO and six against. Only Türkiye's approval is still pending. After much hesitation, the government in Ankara recently announced that it no longer wanted to block Finland's accession.
What does the day bring?
This year's "Summit for Democracy" begins on Tuesday, a virtual summit meeting launched by US President Joe Biden two years ago, at which the Ukrainian side will also be represented. The war is one of the main topics of the international summit.