After Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s meeting on Monday with Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen in the southern city of Mykolaiv, Zelensky announced that Denmark is ready to join an international coalition to provide Ukraine with tanks.
Monday night, following the two heads of state’s visit, the Russian army launched artillery strikes on the Ochakiv community near Mykolaiv. Vitaliy Kim, head of the Mykolaiv Regional Military Administration, posted on Telegram that residential houses and farm buildings were destroyed and damaged, but no casualties were reported.
“I personally thank the prime minister and defense minister of Denmark for the readiness of Denmark to join our tank coalition,” he said at a joint press conference with Frederiksen in Odesa (much safer).
Ukraine insists it needs at least 300 heavy Western tanks to recapture its territories, and the tanks must get there ahead of the expected Russian spring offensive, to help fend it off. The Ukrainian armored corps soldiers will also require time to adjust from their relatively primitive Soviet-era tanks to the state-of-the-art German Leopard 2 and American Abrams tanks. The Financial Times quoted one expert who suggested: “It’s like you have a car from the 1950s and then you sit in a Porsche.”
On Saturday, Zelensky’s advisor Mykhailo Podolyak told Freedom TV that negotiations with Western allies on transferring aircraft and long-range missiles to Ukraine are being carried out in an accelerated mode. Podolyak said his country’s allies understand that the armored vehicles they’re sending over must have air cover.
Accordingly, Zelensky said he also discussed with the Danish prime minister the possibility of strengthening the air and anti-ship defense of the southern regions of Ukraine. “The key issue is speed. This refers to absolutely all strategic partners and friends who want to support Ukraine,” Zelensky said.
Mette Frederiksen, 46, has served as Prime Minister of Denmark since June 2019, and as the leader of the Social Democrats since June 2015. She gained international renown in August 2019 when then-President Donald Trump canceled a state visit to Denmark following her refusal to sell him Greenland.
In early 2022, before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Frederiksen initiated diplomatic talks on the possible presence of American troops on Danish soil, stating: “We want a stronger American presence in Europe and in Denmark.”
Following the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, Frederiksen’s government initiated political talks with the country’s five main political parties and decided on a significant increase in defense spending of more than a billion dollars, and agreed to gradually increase defense spending to 2% of the GDP by 2033, which corresponds to an increase in annual defense spending of around $2.65 billion.
In April 2022, Frederiksen visited Kiev and promised Zelensky an increase in military aid to Ukraine by 600 million Danish Krone ($87 million), bringing the total Danish aid to 1 billion DKK ($150). Denmark has sent 2,700 M72 LAW light anti-tank weapons to the Ukrainian army.
Before they parted company, Zelensky presented Frederiksen with the 1st grade Order of Princess Olga of Kiev. She was a regent of Kiev on behalf of her son Sviatoslav from 945 until 960 and was known for subjugating the Drevlians, a tribe that had killed her husband Igor of Kiev.