Zelensky at Ramstein summit: 'Hundreds of thank you are not hundreds of tanks'

·2 min read

President Volodymyr Zelensky called on partners to speed up the provision of military aid to Ukraine in his online address at the Ramstein-8 meeting on Jan. 20. "Every unit (of supplied weaponry) helps to save our people from terror. But time – time remains a Russian weapon. We have to speed up," Zelensky said.

Ukraine's president emphasized he is "truly grateful" to all allies for the weapons delivered so far, but the war "doesn't allow delays."

"All of us can use thousands of words in discussions, but I cannot put words instead of guns that are needed against Russian artillery or instead of anti-aircraft missiles that are needed to protect people from Russian airstrikes," Zelensky said, adding that "hundreds of thank you are not hundreds of tanks."

Zelensky finished his speech by urging the summit participants to supply Western-made F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine, according to Sky News. Ukraine's allies have been reluctant to send this aircraft so far.

On Jan. 20, defense ministers from some 50 countries met at the U.S. Ramstein Air Base in Germany to discuss further support for Ukraine.

According to Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov, the main priorities of Ukraine to be discussed at the Jan. 20 Ramstein summit are air defense systems, weaponry for offensive operations, including tanks, howitzers, and ammunition, systematic ammunition supplies, as well as repair services for military equipment.

This is the eighth Ramstein summit since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24. The previous one was held online on Nov. 16, 2022.

The Ramstein-8 meeting comes amid high tension over Germany's hesitations to provide Ukraine with Leopard tanks or allow their delivery by other countries.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said during the World Economic Forum's annual meeting in Davos on Jan. 19. that Germany would only provide Leopards to Ukraine if the U.S. sends native M1 Abrams tanks first.

Responding to Scholz's comments, Pentagon deputy press secretary Sabrina Singh said that "it doesn't make sense" for the U.S. to send Abrams tanks "at the moment."