KYIV: On Thursday, Western allies pledged billions of dollars worth of new weapons to Ukraine. However, the question of whether they would also send tanks made in Germany remains unanswered, and Berlin has yet to indicate whether it will lift its veto.
Ukraine wants the Leopard battle tanks, which are held by a variety of Nato nations but whose transfer to Ukraine requires approval from Germany, because it is concerned that winter will give Russian forces time to regroup and launch a major attack.
Berlin would drop its objections, according to a source from the German government, if Washington sent its own Abrams tanks. Olaf Scholz, the Social Democrat chancellor of Germany, has been reluctant to send weapons that could provoke Moscow. Since Russia is already fully committed to war, many of Berlin’s Western allies contend that concern is misplaced.
Before a meeting of dozens of allies on Friday at Ramstein, Washington’s main European air base, there was no word on any progress after the US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and the new German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius met in Berlin.
“I am moderately sceptical, moderately pessimistic because the Germans are defending themselves against this like a devil protects himself against holy water,” Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said later on Thursday regarding the possibility of German approval.
Volodymyr Zelenskiy, the president of Ukraine, veiled his criticism of Germany’s position.
“‘I will help if someone else outside of Europe also helps,’ because I am powerful in Europe. He stated, “I think this is not a very good strategy.
Armoured vehicles and air defenses have already been announced by a group of 11 Nato nations, and the Ramstein meeting is being billed as an opportunity for the West to provide Ukraine with the resources it needs to defeat Russia in 2023. However, Kyiv asserts that heavy tanks are required to repel Russian assaults and reclaim occupied territory.
On Thursday, the head of the Ukrainian presidential administration, Andriy Yermak, wrote on Telegram, “We have no time, the world does not have this time.”
“The lives of our Ukrainian people are paying the price for our slowness. That shouldn’t be the case.
The Netherlands, which leases Leopard 2 tanks from Germany, would need a green light from Berlin before deciding whether to contribute, according to Dutch Defence Minister Kajsa Ollongren. However, she stated that she was confident that a solution would be found for providing Ukraine with modern battle tanks.
According to a source from the German government, Berlin had not yet received a request from any nation for permission to reexport the tanks. According to some Western allies, the Leopard 2 tanks, the workhorse of militaries across Europe that Germany produced in large numbers during the Cold War, are the only suitable option that is available in sufficient numbers.
It is believed that sending the Abrams would consume too much fuel for Kyiv’s already constrained logistics system to supply the front. US officials say they have no plans to send the Abrams yet.
Before their meeting, Pistorius and Austin both talked about how important it is to help Ukraine, but neither of them specifically talked about tanks.
Pistorius made the following remarks at the ceremony where he was sworn in as minister: This is not a normal time because there is a war going on in Europe. Ukraine is the target of Russia’s brutal war of annihilation against a sovereign nation. Austin thanked Germany for its support of Ukraine thus far and referred to Germany as one of Washington’s closest allies.
If Germany lifts its veto, Poland and Finland have already stated that they will send Leopards. Poland suggested that it might do so even if Germany tried to block it, which was a sign of growing dissatisfaction.
Russia has threatened to escalate in response to the possibility of providing Kyiv with additional weapons. One of Moscow’s most explicit threats to use nuclear weapons if it loses in Ukraine was made by Dmitry Medvedev, an ally of President Vladimir Putin who took over as president from 2008 to 2012 when Putin took a break to serve as prime minister.
Medvedev stated, “The defeat of a nuclear power in a conventional war may trigger a nuclear war.”