Croatia’s president criticizes tank deliveries to Ukraine
ZAGREB, Croatia (AP) – The president of NATO member Croatia on Monday criticized Western nations for supplying Ukraine with heavy tanks and other weapons in their campaign against invading Russian forces, saying these arms supplies only end the war would extend.
Zoran Milanovic told reporters in the Croatian capital it was “crazy” to think Russia could be defeated in a conventional war.
“I’m against sending lethal weapons there,” Milanovic said. “It prolongs the war.”
“What is the goal? Decay of Russia, change of government? There is also talk of tearing Russia apart. This is crazy,” he added.
Milanovic won the 2019 presidential election in Croatia as a left-liberal candidate, a counterpoint to the conservative government currently in office in the EU and NATO member state. However, he has since turned to populist nationalism and criticized Western policies towards Russia and the Balkans.
Milanovic has earned a reputation for being pro-Russian, which he has repeatedly denied. In recent months, however, he has openly opposed the admission of Finland and Sweden to NATO and the training of Ukrainian troops in Croatia as part of EU aid to the embattled country.
After months of hesitation, the US said it would send 31 of its 70-ton Abrams main battle tanks to Ukraine, and Germany announced it would send 14 Leopard 2 tanks and allow other countries to do the same.
Milanovic said that “from 2014 to 2022 we are watching someone provoking Russia with the intention of starting this war.”
“What is the aim of this war? A war against a nuclear power that is at war in another country? Is there a conventional way to defeat such a country?” Milanovic asked on Monday. “Who pays the price? Europe. America pays the least,” he said.
“A year has passed and we are only now talking about tanks,” said Milanovic. “Not a single American tank will go to Ukraine in a year. Only German tanks are sent there.”
Although the presidential post in Croatia is mostly ceremonial, Milanovic is formally the supreme commander of the armed forces. His recent anti-Western outbursts have embarrassed and angered the country’s government, which has given full support to Ukraine in its fight against Russian aggression.
Follow AP’s coverage of the war in Ukraine: https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine
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