Ukraine has celebrated the contribution to its war effort of cats both big and small, with the nation’s defence ministry sharing an adorable picture of three moggies – the day after Germany confirmed it would supply Kyiv with a company of Leopard 2 tanks. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz confirmed his decision to donate 14 armoured vehicles on the same day US President Joe Biden announced the United States would be supplying 31 Abrams battle tanks. Britain has also confirmed it will be providing 14 Challenger 2 tanks.
Continuing the feline theme, the ministry tweeted a picture of the three cats – one tabby, one ginger and one tortoiseshell – commenting: “United Colors of #UAarmy.”
The three are shown sitting on a huge pile of camouflage gear, with Twitter users replying to share their appreciation – one describing them as “fluffy warriors”.
The ministry followed up its post with a second showing a trio of leopards running through the snow in front of three actual Leopard 2 tanks, commenting: “Coming. Soon. Be. Fearful. Enemy.”
From Washington to Berlin to Kyiv, a Western decision to send battle tanks to Ukraine was hailed enthusiastically. Moscow first shrugged it off – and later launched another barrage of attacks.
The Kremlin has previously warned that such tank deliveries would be a dangerous escalation of the conflict in Ukraine, and it has strongly denounced the watershed move by Germany and the United States to send the heavy weaponry to its foe.
But it insists the new armor won’t stop Russia from achieving its goals in Ukraine.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “The potential it gives to the Ukrainian armed forces is clearly exaggerated. Those tanks will burn just like any others.”
Moscow played down the move right after the announcement in an apparent attempt to save face as the West raised the stakes in Ukraine.
Some Russian experts also claimed the supply of the vehicles will be relatively limited and could take months to reach the front.
On Thursday, Russia launched a new wave of missiles and self-exploding drones across Ukraine – the latest in a series of strikes, many of which have targeted power plants and other key infrastructure.
Russian military bloggers and commentators say that such attacks involve meticulous preparation – so the latest barrage was likely planned in advance and was not necessarily linked to the tank announcement.
Yohann Michel, of the International Institute for Strategic Studies think tank, observed that while Western arms supplies irk Russia, it can do nothing to stop them. “It’s a problem that they can’t necessarily address,” he said, noting that earlier decisions by the U.S. and its allies to supply air-defence weapons to Ukraine could have been even more worrying for Moscow.