Ukraine expects decisions on tanks at Western defence leaders' meeting

By Tom Balmforth KYIV/BERLIN (Reuters) -Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelenskiy said his government was expecting "strong decisions" from defence leaders of NATO and

other countries meeting on Friday to discuss boosting Ukraine's ability to confront Russian forces with modern battle tanks. The meeting at Ramstein Air Base in Germany is

the latest in a series since Russia invaded Ukraine nearly 11 months ago, and where future weapons supplies will be discussed, particularly of Germany's Leopard 2 tanks used by

armies across Europe. Berlin has veto power over any decision to export the tanks and Chancellor Olaf Scholz's government has appeared reluctant so far to authorise that for

fear of provoking Russia. Some allies say Berlin's concern is misplaced, with Russia already fully committed to war, while Moscow has repeatedly said Western weapons

transfers would prolong the conflict and increase suffering in Ukraine. Ukraine and Russia have both relied primarily on Soviet-era T-72 tanks, which have been destroyed in

their hundreds during the war that Russian President Vladimir Putin started last Feb. 24, calling it a "special military operation" to protect Russia and Russian

speakers. Ukraine and its allies accuse Moscow of an unprovoked war to grab territory and to erase the independence of a ex-Soviet republic and neighbour. Western countries

have provided a steady supply of weapons to Ukraine. "We are, in fact, now waiting for a decision from one European capital, which will activate the prepared chains of

cooperation regarding tanks," Zelenskiy said in a video address on Thursday night.