Russian state TV hosts claim West is giving Ukraine nothing
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Vitali Klitschko told German media Russia wants to occupy all of Ukraine and is threatening Baltic states. The former WBO heavyweight champion was speaking amid scepticism among some Germans over Berlin supplying heavy weapons to Ukraine.
Mr Klitschko, in comments translated to English, said: “They want all of Ukraine. They are talking about Baltic States. They are talking about rebuilding the Russian Empire.
“And therefore, for many sceptics, the Russians will go as far as we will let them. Therefore we need common positions.
“We all want to live in peace. Therefore we must unite all countries. It is up to us to re-establish peace in Ukraine and Europe.”
Kyiv’s mayor was speaking on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum at the Swiss Alpine resort Davos.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told global business leaders at Davos on Monday that the world faces a turning point and has to ratchet up sanctions against Moscow as a warning to other countries considering the use of brute force.
He said in a video address: “History is at a turning point… This is really the moment when it is decided whether brute force will rule the world.”
Days into Russia’s invasion, Germany reversed its policy to never send weapons to conflict zones.
Berlin pledged in February 1,000 anti-tank weapons and 500 Stinger anti-aircraft defence systems to Ukraine.
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According to a poll by Deutschlandtrend in late April, 45 percent of Germans support the delivery of heavy armaments to Ukraine.
This represented a 10 percentage point drop compared with early April, media outlet Euractiv reported.
Some German politicians have voiced their opposition to Berlin sending heavy weapons to Ukraine.
President of Saxony Michael Kretschmer said last month that Germany should not get drawn into the war.
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German intellectuals also urged Chancellor Olaf Scholz in an open letter not to send heavy weapons but to seek a compromise both sides could accept.
Mr Scholz faced chants of “warmonger” at a May Day rally in Dusseldorf.
He told the crowd: “I respect all pacifism and every position. But it must seem cynical to the citizens of Ukraine when they are told to defend themselves against Putin’s aggression without weapons.”
Meanwhile, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Wednesday Kyiv wants to acquire German Marder infantry fighting vehicles and Leopard main battle tanks but has not made much headway with Berlin.
He told a news conference on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum: “Something that we think is feasible is these Marder armoured vehicles, and our dream, of course, is German Leopard tanks.
“But we are not even close to, we are not there.”
Mr Scholz, who has been criticised for dragging his heels over the heavy weapon supplies, is due to address business leaders in the Swiss resort on Thursday.
Mr Kuleba said: “Those countries who are dragging their feet with the issue of providing Ukraine with heavy weapons, they have to understand: Every day they spend deciding, weighing different arguments, whether to do it or not, people get killed.”
However, he welcomed the training of Ukrainian troops on self-propelled howitzers in Germany.
Berlin has pledged to send seven of the artillery weapons to Ukraine.
Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg
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