World Would Be Better Without Putin In It, German Defense Minister Says
- Boris Pistorius downplayed Russia’s threats that it would deploy nuclear weapons
- The German minister praised the Ukrainian military and suggested that reclaiming Russian-occupied regions is possible
- Pistorius traveled to Ukraine after announcing that Germany will send the country more than 100 Leopard 1 tanks
German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius suggested that the world would be better off without Russian President Vladimir Putin during his visit to Ukraine to show Germany’s continuous support to the beleaguered country.
Pistorius made the comment during an interview with the German news outlet Bild, where he stressed that Western countries will continue to provide weapons to Ukraine in its fight against Russia as the war nears its first anniversary.
“Without hesitation and without compromise, the world without Putin would be better,” Pistorius told the outlet, according to Odessa Journal.
The German defense minister also downplayed Russia’s threats to launch nuclear strikes to destroy German targets, calling it “propaganda.”
“One is what goes on inside, and the other is what goes on in propaganda. After all, none of us know what Putin is doing, but that shouldn’t stop us from providing reasonable support to our allies,” Pistorius said.
Pistorius also praised Ukraine for “fighting incredibly bravely” and suggested that returning the regions of Luhansk, Donetsk and Crimea to the Ukrainian fold is increasingly possible.
The visit of Pistorius to Ukraine, less than a month after being appointed as German defense minister, came after Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands announced they will supply the Ukrainian military with up to 178 Leopard 1 tanks to help the country defend itself from Russian forces.
The European countries will deliver “20 to 25 of these tanks by the summer” until all Leopard 1 tanks are delivered by 2024, Financial Times reported, citing Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov.
This is on top of the 14 of the more advanced Leopard 2 tanks that will be delivered to Ukraine by the end of March.
But Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in his meeting with Pistorius, again urged Western allies to speed up the delivery of modern tanks to his country as Russia is poised to launch another major offensive against Ukraine.
Oleksiy Danilov, Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council secretary, echoed Zelensky’s remark, adding that his country needs more “cannons, shells, tanks, rockets [and] planes” to counter Russian aggression.
Ukraine’s request for more weapons came amid news of a potential Russian offensive to mark the first-year anniversary of the war later this month.
Danilov said they expect Russia to include parts of the Kharkiv and Zaporizhzhia regions in its new offensive, noting that Russian troops are probing Ukraine’s defenses in those areas.
On Sunday, Ukraine’s intelligence suggested that Russia was preparing at least 500,000 mobilized troops at the border, raising the specter of another Russian offensive.
Zelensky said Russia’s build-up of troops is aimed at seeking revenge against Ukraine and its Western partners.