The five-way call. On Wednesday afternoon, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni spoke over the phone with US President Joe Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak “as part of the close Euro-Atlantic coordination on support for Ukraine,” according to an official readout.
- “Noting the situation on the ground almost a year after the Russian invasion, the leaders reiterated the importance of continued strong allied cohesion in continuing to provide comprehensive assistance to Kyiv.”
- The call cemented Rome’s role as one of the biggest players in the Transatlantic coalition – a newfound centrality, born of its increased international involvement and resulting in the leaders reuniting in the Quint format – the first since Ms Meloni became PM.
Scholz’s hold-up is over. This critical development comes after weeks of debate among Ukraine’s allies on whether to expand military aid to include battle tanks. Germany’s Chancellor became the last leader to resist this development until this morning’s U-turn when he announced he would deliver Leopard 2 tanks to Kyiv.
Biden’s thanks. Shortly after, the US president gave a presser – flanked by Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin and State Secretary Antony Blinken – to officially announce the delivery of 31 top-of-the-line Abrams tanks to Ukraine. He also took stock of the allies’ efforts, noting each and every logistical contribution.
- On its part, Rome is delivering ammunition – and working to supply air defence systems, along with civilian aid packages, to Ukraine.