Ukraine’s Zelensky accuses Germany of blocking NATO weapons supply

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Germany of blocking the supply of NATO weapons to Kiev in an interview with Italian newspaper La Repubblica published by his office Tuesday.

Zelensky’s comments come as the West has said Russia could be planning an invasion of Ukraine, with the US warning Moscow of serious economic sanctions if it launches an attack.

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“Germany has recently prevented us from getting anti-drone rifles and anti-sniper systems from NATO, which are exclusively defense tools,” Zelensky said in the interview.

“Don’t we have the right to have them in the eighth year of the war? Obviously, we do,” he added.

A spokesperson for the German foreign ministry said Monday that it could not comment “on the confidential decisions at the heart of the (NATO) alliance at this stage.”

Ukraine last month said it was seeking more military aid from its Western allies to deter Russia from an attack.

Kiev has been fighting pro-Russia separatists in its eastern regions since 2014. The conflict erupted shortly after Moscow seized Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula.

Fears have grown in recent weeks that Moscow – which has massed around 100,000 troops near Ukraine’s border – could launch a large-scale attack.

In a video call last week, US President Joe Biden warned Russian President Vladimir Putin of “sanctions like he’s never seen” should Moscow launch an attack.

Zelensky said the call did not lead to a scaling down of troops on the Russian side of the border.

“There is no reduction of the military group near our borders after the talks between the US and Russian leaders,” Zelensky said.

He warned of “much higher losses” in the event of an invasion.

“Is Russian society ready to pay with the lives of its sons for the attempt to occupy another part of Ukraine?,” he asked.

The West for a long time hesitated to sell arms to Kiev, but Ukraine eventually managed to get some defense systems – including Turkish-made Bayraktar drones.

Kiev’s use of the drones was met with criticism from Russia and some of its Western allies, including France and Germany.

Putin denies planning an invasion of Ukraine and blames NATO for the heightened tensions in the region.

The Russian leader has asked Western countries for “legal guarantees” that Ukraine will not join NATO.

Kiev and its Western allies accuse the Kremlin of supporting the Ukrainian separatists militarily.

The conflict in eastern Ukraine has so far claimed more than 13,000 lives.

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