Three European countries announced, on Tuesday, that they would send "in the coming months" 100 heavy tanks, "Leopard 1" to Kyiv, to help their army repel the Russian forces.

This comes as the United States approved the sale of weapons worth 10 billion dollars to Poland, in light of the intensification of the Russian war against Ukraine.

The countries' announcement on Tuesday coincided with an unannounced visit by German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius to Kyiv since his appointment last January, and at a time when Ukrainian leaders are urging their Western allies to speed up their delivery of heavy tanks.

And the defense ministers of Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark announced - in a joint statement - that Ukraine will receive "no less than 100 Leopard 1A5 tanks ... in the coming months."

These tanks are an older version of the more advanced Leopard 2, which Western countries have also promised to give Kyiv a number of.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky thanked the three countries for their "important support," and said - during a press conference with Pistorius - "the recent decisions related to providing us with Leopard tanks are important decisions for us ... we do not want to give the initiative to Russia."

The timeline for the shipment of tanks from Western countries remains unclear, and Kyiv is concerned they may not arrive in time to fend off a looming large-scale Russian offensive.

The website of the German magazine "Der Spiegel" had reported earlier Tuesday that the Security Council of the German government had approved the delivery of 178 "Leopard 1" tanks to Ukraine, which is much more than previously announced.

The site added that some tanks will be sent to Kyiv next summer, but the bulk of the "Leopard 1" will be delivered next year.

This step follows the German government's decision last January - following mounting international pressure - to hand over the most advanced "Leopard 2" combat tanks from army stocks.

deal with Poland

On the other hand, the United States approved yesterday, Tuesday, the sale of weapons worth 10 billion dollars to Poland, and the Associated Press reported that the US State Department informed Congress of its approval of the deal.

The Foreign Ministry indicated - in a statement - that the arms deal includes medium-range HIMARS missile systems, in addition to ammunition and related equipment.

This deal comes in light of the growing concern in Poland and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) about the possibility of Russia launching a new attack against Ukraine, with the approach of the first anniversary of the war that began on February 24, 2022.

The US State Department said the deal "will support US foreign policy and national security goals by strengthening the defense capabilities of Poland," a NATO member.

She indicated that the deal "will improve Poland's military goals in modernizing its capabilities, enhancing interoperability with the United States and other allies ... and expanding its ability to strengthen its national defense and deter regional threats."

False news

On the other hand, Russia's Tass news agency reported yesterday that Russia had asked the US embassy there to stop publishing what Moscow considers "false news" about its war in Ukraine, and threatened to expel US diplomats.

The agency quoted a senior source in the Russian Foreign Ministry as saying that the warning included a strongly worded letter to Lynn Tracy, the new US ambassador to Moscow, who was told that she must strictly comply with Russian law when making any statements about Russian armed forces in Ukraine.

It also quoted the source as saying that US diplomats involved in what Moscow describes as "subversive activities" will be expelled.

A State Department spokesperson confirmed that the US Embassy had received a diplomatic note from the Russian Foreign Ministry, but said it was the department's general policy not to comment on diplomatic communications.

"successful" progress

On the ground, Russia said yesterday that its forces are advancing successfully towards the strategic cities of Bakhmut and Vogledar in Donetsk Province, eastern Ukraine.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said - in a conference call with Russian military officials - that "the battles are currently progressing successfully in the regions of Voglidar and Bakhmut," warning the West of any increase in its military aid to Ukraine that could lead to an "unexpected escalation" in the conflict.

The Russian minister spoke about the recent control of 7 towns, including Solidar, which is adjacent to Bakhmut, from which Ukrainian forces withdrew last January.

Bakhmut, just south of Solidar, is a devastated city whose population has been displaced almost entirely. After months of intense fighting, the battle for Bakhmut has become the longest battle in the war between Russia and Ukraine that began nearly a year ago.

Its capture will provide a gateway for Russian forces to continue their advance to complete control of Donetsk Province, which Moscow has set as a military priority.

On the other hand, the Ukrainian army said yesterday that the past 24 hours were the bloodiest in the war so far for Russian forces.

He explained that 1,030 Russian soldiers were killed, bringing Russia's total losses of soldiers to 133,190, according to the Ukrainian account.