BERLINA Ukraine and the allies of NATO increased pressure on the Germany this Friday the 20th so Berlin Authorize the sending of Leopard tank 2 to Kyiv, as part of the new Western aid package announced for the country Eastern Europe. Representatives from more than 50 countries gathered at the Ramstein air base in southwest Germany with the aim of expediting deliveries of heavy weapons, but could not evade the government Olaf Scholz a compromise regarding the liberation of the tanks.
“Hundreds of ‘thanks’ are not hundreds of tanks,” said the Ukrainian president. Volodmir Zelenskyy, connected via video conference with the authorities assembled in Germany. Zelenskyy urged allies to rush to resolve the conflicts that still prevent the use of tanks, saying the standoff favors the Russians, who are increasingly entrenched in their defensive positions. “We can all use thousands of words, but I cannot use words instead of the necessary weapons against Russian artillery.”
The rare standoff between NATO allies since inception Russian invasion of Ukraine placed the interests of the bloc’s two main economies on opposite poles. On the one hand the United States of America to exert political pressure on Germany to surrender the tanks demanded by it Kyiv, or at least authorize countries that received German tanks to send equipment to reinforce the front line of the conflict. On the other hand, there is Berlin with its decadeslong tradition of aversion to military issues since the end of 2017 2nd war.
Defense leaders from 50 countries met this Friday, 20th at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. Photo: Michael Probst/AP
Even under pressure, the federal government has not yet shown any signs of giving in. Chancellor Olaf Scholz has made it clear in recent weeks that Germany will not go it alone when sending tanks to Ukraine, and has made the deployment of Leopard 2 dependent on American tank supplies. M1 Abrams to Kyiv a step that Washington seems very reluctant to take.
According to US and German officials who spoke confidentially to the international press, Scholz reportedly reported Joe Bidenin a call earlier this week for tanks to be sent to Berlin, Washington Should also send some of you. The alleged demand was later denied by a German government spokesman, Steffen Hebestreit, who said on Friday Germany had never had a “demand” for American tanks.
During Friday’s meeting, German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said Berlin continues to weigh the pros and cons of using tanks, but denied that Germany was “hesitating” and said it was a matter of “being careful”. “None of us can say when a decision will be made and what the decision will be like,” he said.
US officials are reluctant to send their Abrams tanks because they use jet fuel and are difficult to maintain unlike Germany’s dieselpowered Leopards. Equipping Ukrainian troops with American vehicles, US officials argue, would force Kyiv to maintain much longer and more complex logistical lines.
While other NATO member countries have Leopard tanks in their arsenals an estimated 2,000 of which are available across the continent many of the countries say they are being hampered by Germany’s lack of authorization as export deals for domestically made weapons prevent unilateral action would decision which is being questioned by Berlin. Two days before the ministerial meeting, on Wednesday 18th, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said he would send 14 of his country’s Leopard tanks to Ukraine, despite the approval of the Scholz government.
Leopard 2, a Germanmade tank, is the object of desire of the Ukrainian military authorities. Photo: Michael Sohn/AP 09/28/2011
In Moscow, the Kremlin downplayed the possible impact of Western main battle tanks on Ukraine. In his daily conference call with reporters on Friday, spokesman Dmitry Peskov reiterated what Russia has been advocating since the start of its invasion: Western arms shipments will only increase Ukrainians’ suffering ahead of inevitable Russian victory.
“We have repeatedly said that such deliveries cannot change anything,” Peskov was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency. The spokesman added: “We are seeing increasing indirect and sometimes direct involvement of NATO countries in this conflict… We are seeing a surrender to the dramatic illusion that Ukraine can succeed on the battlefield. This is a dramatic deception of the Western community that will, we are sure, cause more than one occasion of regret.”
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If the stalemate with the leopards persists, NATO has already programmed an aid package worth billions to strengthen the Ukrainian troops in the next phase of the war. The US announced on Thursday 19th the delivery of 100 Stryker armored vehicles and 50 Bradley armored vehicles as part of a shipment of arms and equipment valued at around US$2.5 billion (about R$13 billion) on.
The US has secured the delivery of 50 Bradley tanks to Ukraine. Photo: Badkhan Ahmad/AP
In Europe, following a meeting between UK and Estonian defense ministers and military officials from the Baltics and Central Europe, the British announced they would send Challenger 2 tanks to Kyiv, in addition to committing to sending 600 Brimstone missiles.
For its part, Estonia said it would deliver its largest military aid package since the start of the war, including antitank weapons and ammunition totaling 113 million euros (636 million reals).
Other countries signed a pledge of support after the meeting, including Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Denmark, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands and Slovakia. In a joint statement, they said they were determined to “jointly advance the delivery of an unprecedented array of donations” in support of Ukraine../ WPOST and NYT
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