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does not give up its Leopards while the US asks to “go further” with Ukraine

A Leopard 2 tank.

Friday of tension in Ramstein, the German city that serves as the command center for the US forces deployed in Europe and where the call has met Contact Group for Ukraine. On the table, the threat of an imminent Russian offensive and how to deal with it with the greatest number of weapons. All Western countries have been united in their determination to continue supporting the Zelensky regime… but not so much in the manner of doing so. The division is still partly reminiscent of the first days of the conflict: some countries understand that their weapons must serve to “contain” the invading army, while others ask for a defeat for Putin and his people.

Among the latter, we find, of course, the ex-Soviet Baltic republics, Finland Already Poland. All have announced the shipment of high-tech weapons to Ukraine in the coming days. The United States continues to move in a calculated ambiguity, while France and Germany seem to be in the position of appeasement. they keep thinking that a diplomatic solution to the conflict is possible and, in any case, they are uncomfortable with sending military aid.

Specifically, all eyes have been on Germany and the shipment of Leopard 2 tanks to the front. From what we know, and from what the German envoys to the summit themselves have admitted, the pressures are enormous. kyiv has been requesting these tanks for weeks, veterans of the wars of Syria either Afghanistan, to give recent examples, without any success. Scholz doesn’t say no, but he doesn’t say yes either. And, meanwhile, time goes by and the margin to properly train those who could use this new technology is reduced.

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In general, the feeling given by these meetings and the statements of the main Western leaders is of a some urgency. Their respective intelligence services must have found out something. In this sense, although the idea of ​​all countries sending large contingents can be very attractive on paper, in practice, it is not very useful without the aforementioned training and coordination that the Ukrainian commanders then have to assume. We are talking about very diverse technology with completely different requirements, supplies and maintenance.

Without Abrams there are no Leopards

This is one of the excuses that the United States makes, for example, for not giving up its Abrams battle tanks, although it has accepted the shipment of up to one hundred Strykers, which join the fourteen Challenger 2 that the United Kingdom has promised. It seems unfeasible to the Pentagon for these armored vehicles, which require huge and constant amounts of gasoline and spare parts that are logistically difficult to manage in Ukraine, to arrive in time for the expected late-winter or early-spring offensive.

A Leopard 2 tank.

Reuters

The North American decision has served Scholz and the German government to justify their refusal to send the Leopard 2. In their opinion, they would also arrive late, and, in any case, despite the recent agreement with Biden himself to send a generous aid package to Ukraine, they consider that the initiative should come from Washington and that, if the United States begins to haggle, they too have the legitimacy to do so. Obviously, this position has gone down very badly with the American delegation, which considers that his efforts are so generous that they should not be questioned by no one and even less by a country traditionally a commercial ally of Putin.

What is actually hidden in this decision by Germany in the face of an issue that is relatively innocuous in principle? The Leopard 2 would be important on the ground, nobody doubts it, but they are not at all a key piece that will decide the war, such as the HIMARS missile launch platforms or the Patriot air defense batteries. Refusing to provide this weaponry is a gigantic public relations mistake and a gesture bound to generate animosity among its partners.

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The true justification must be found in the traditional pacifist sentiment of post-Nazi Germany, in his eternal feeling of guilt and in the reflection of both circumstances in the polls. The recently published assert that the majority of German citizens oppose the shipment of the Leopard 2 to Ukraine. For a strategic question? Absolutely. They simply believe that Germany should stay out of any conflict, whatever it may be.

The Polish Rebellion

The decision also conveys an image of Germany that is not real. Germany has indeed helped Ukraine in this war and has done so generously. Not only in the shipment of material, despite the initial reluctance, but in the sacrifice itself that has meant complying with the sanctions of the European Union and having to go elsewhere to look for the gas with which they have heated and made them work. their industries for decades. Cheap gas for allies who looked the other way every time the Kremlin did its thing.

Western defense ministers listen to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during the meeting at the Ramstein military base

Western defense ministers listen to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during the meeting at the Ramstein military base

Reuters

It is not understood that all that work is thrown out by a decision that his own partners are criticizing. Let’s say that it puts Germany in a very bad position and that breaks the united front of the Contact Group, which basically represents the interests of NATO. This, just at the moment when the United States is encouraging Ukraine to go further and threaten the Crimean peninsula, in order to put more pressure on Russia, something that, as we said, not all allies share.

The division is so clear that Poland has expressed its firm willingness to skip the agreements and send its own Leopard 2, something that, in principle, it cannot do without German approval that is not going to arrive. The image of two countries of the same military alliance fighting over the weapons they can send to an external ally is not the best possible at the moment. Now, it’s the one Olaf Schölz has chosen to give, while, ironically, Russian propagandists threaten to attack Berlin every day.

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Written by Editor TLN

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