Scholz, Zelensky address Davos as allies push Berlin to send tanks

Chancellor Olaf Scholz

GERMAN Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will deliver the most high-profile speeches at this year’s Davos forum on Wednesday, as pressure mounts on Berlin to send combat tanks to Kiev.

Zelensky is readying for a second year of war against the invading Russian forces. Ukraine has made major battlefield gains, but heavy battle tanks are considered vital to recapturing Russian-occupied territories.

So far, however, Ukraine has received only Soviet-made tanks that were in the inventory of Eastern European NATO countries.

Berlin has so far refused to send the sophisticated German-made Leopard 2 tanks, despite a growing chorus of appeals from Kiev and NATO allies.

Scholz’s government had cited the fact that other allies have not handed over modern tanks to Ukraine either.

But that position is now on shaky ground after Britain and Poland recently announced they would deliver heavy battle tanks and an earlier pledge by France to send “light” tanks.

Scholz, who is the only Group of Seven (G7) leader to address the World Economic Forum this year, will arrive in snowy Davos just a day after he named a new defence minister.

Boris Pistorius, the interior minister of Lower Saxony, is to take up the post following the resignation of Christine Lambrecht on Monday.

Tackling the sensitive issue of arms for Ukraine will now fall in large part on his shoulders.

UN Secretary General António Guterres and U.S. climate envoy John Kerry will also speak at Davos on Wednesday. (dpa/NAN)