Ukraine has upped its call for the West to finally send heavy tanks as the defence chiefs of the United States and Germany headed for a showdown over weapons Kyiv says could decide the fate of the war

US defence secretary Lloyd Austin to meet new German defence minister a day before allies meet to discuss military aid.

That meeting, at the US Ramstein air base in Germany, has been billed as a chance to provide the arms to shift the war’s momentum in 2023.

Top of the agenda is heavy tanks, which Kyiv says it needs to fend off a new Russian onslaught and launch counter-offensives to recapture its occupied territory.

“We have no time, the world does not have this time,” Andriy Yermak, head of the Ukrainian presidential administration, wrote on the Telegram messaging app on Thursday.

“The question of tanks for Ukraine must be closed as soon as possible,” he said. “We are paying for the slowness with the lives of our Ukrainian people. It shouldn’t be like that.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy made a similar plea by video link to leaders gathered at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Wednesday