After weeks of negotiations and controversy comes the turning point in the tanks for Ukraine: the United States would be willing to supply the spearhead of military equipment with Stars and Stripes, M1 Abrams, and Germany, for its part, to supply the previous Leopard denied. These are the tanks Kyiv has long called upon to change the fate of a conflict now in its eleventh month and the subject of an unprecedented clash that risks undermining the cohesion of the alliance. The leaks came from the press: the news literally chased each other, and the Wall Street Journal’s revelations about American white smoke were followed by those of the Spiegel about the German turn. Olaf Scholz and Joe Biden had reached an agreement and the Chancellor, who had been under pressure for days not to let Germany go alone despite American pressure, achieved an important diplomatic result. Moscow has been silent for the time being, apart from a preemptive comment from the Kremlin that “nothing good is coming from the tanks.” In the past few days, however, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had taken a much sharper tone and threatened a “catastrophe”. The Russians continue to terrorize the globe by warning of moves that could start a third world war. And Berlin, which is listening, has also been delaying this so far, taking the time to “think carefully about” the move.
However, the real turning point will soon be seen on the ground, where the Ukrainians can count on the “strongest weapons”, which NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg also invoked this morning during his first official bilateral meeting with the new German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius. At stake are “a considerable number” of American Abrams and 14 Leopard 2A6s of the Bundeswehr. But Germany, struggling with a stockpile, is examining industry options, and Rheinmetall has already said it can send 139 Leopards. ABC News then announced that with Berlin’s green light, 12 other European countries (leading Poland) would be willing to send at least another 100 German super tanks (5-600 would be needed by the Kiev army to launch a real counteroffensive and recover the lost territories as estimated by Pietro Batacchi, director of the Italian Defense Review). The progressive opening of Germany after the partition recorded in Ramstein – where US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin had to close the Contact Group summit on Ukraine without result on January 20 – was already felt in the words of Pistorius: Partners will be able, Ukrainians to train for the use of leopards, he said early in the morning in Berlin. In addition, Warsaw has already submitted an application to the Federal Republic for permission to send the leopards, and the chancellor’s office has leaked the will to give the green light as early as tomorrow. However, it is the agreement with Washington that has accelerated the communication of the Berlin decision. In fact, Scholz had made it clear to Joe Biden by phone in the past few days – Bild reported – that Germany would only make progress “together” with super tanks. In addition to the condition, repeated daily, that “NATO does not become part of the conflict”, the chancellor has made it an irrefutable principle. Having already granted the Ukrainians the Marder armored vehicles, the Social Democratic leader refused to act alone against the Leopards in the face of Washington’s decision to send Bradley light tanks, and refused this much-demanded approval (even from his government). allies and the opposition) to the delivery of the German super tanks. Chancellor had made a commitment: Washington should have guaranteed Abrams his yes, but the Biden administration had rejected the request. Too expensive, too complicated to use and too difficult to handle, he argued. Then the second thought, despite the Pentagon’s perplexity. According to the Wall Street Journal, Washington’s official starting signal could be given as early as this week, “in the context of the agreement with the Germans”.
Two British volunteers, Chris Parry and Andrew Bagshaw, who went missing in Ukraine two weeks ago, were killed attempting a humanitarian evacuation from Soledar in the east of the country. This was announced by Parry’s family in a statement from the Foreign Office quoted by Sky News. Parry, 28, was last seen leaving Kramatorsk for Soledar with Bagshaw before contact was severed this month. News of his death has now come after Wagner mercenaries reported on January 11 that they had found the body of one of the two volunteers, both of whom were carrying passports.