No Leopard tanks for Ukraine as NATO allies cannot come to an agreement
The refusal to agree to send German tanks to Ukraine may represent escalating differences within NATO on the transfer of heavy weapons in the face of Russian warnings.
As Russia issued covert threats that the war could spread to Europe, the United States and its allies were unable to come to an agreement on providing Ukraine the desired German combat tanks.
The most recent in a series of arms-pledging conferences held since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine 11 months ago, NATO and defense leaders from nearly 50 countries met on Friday at the American Ramstein Air Base in Germany.
Although no agreement was reached, European leaders at the summit pressured Germany once more to grant the go-ahead for the delivery of German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine in order to push back Moscow’s forces.
The refusal to agree to supply the tanks could be a harbinger of expanding differences within NATO about the provision of such weaponry.
Boris Pistorius, Germany’s defense minister, disputed that Berlin was unilaterally obstructing the shipment of Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, but he said that his country was prepared to act quickly if there was agreement among allies.
Without going into any detail, he stated, “There are good reasons for the delivery and there are good reasons against, and in view of the overall scenario of a conflict that has been lasting for almost a year, all pros and negatives must be examined very carefully.”
Berlin has come under increasing pressure to give Kyiv the tanks it believes it needs to win its conflict with Russia.
There are many allies that claim we share the viewpoint that I have put up here, Pistorius said, adding that the notion “there is a united coalition and that Germany is standing in the way is false.”
While the decision to send the Leopard tanks has not yet been made, Pistorius stated, “We will make our decisions as quickly as possible.”
“I am very certain that a decision will be made in the near future, but… I am unsure of how the decision will appear,” he stated.
Leopard tanks are seen to be particularly ideal because they are extensively used, allowing other nations to each contribute portion of their tank arsenal to support Ukraine.
“Reason for regret”
While this is going on, Russia claimed that providing battle tanks to Ukraine by the West will not alter the outcome of the conflict and that Kyiv’s friends will regret their “delusions” that doing so will result in a victory on the battlefield.
According to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, “We have warned repeatedly that such deliveries will not fundamentally change anything but will add issues for Ukraine and the Ukrainian people.”
When asked if the crisis was worsening because Ukraine was receiving more sophisticated weapons, he responded, “We witness a rising indirect and sometimes direct engagement of NATO countries in this conflict.
“We observe a dedication to the spectacular illusion that Ukraine can prevail in battle. This is a tremendous misconception of the West that will lead to regret on multiple occasions.
In late 2021, right before it invaded Ukraine, Russia highlighted strategic concerns that should be taken into consideration, according to Peskov.
Before beginning its invasion on February 24, 2022, Moscow addressed a list of security requests to the United States and accused NATO of compromising the security of the area.
In addition to requesting a ban on Ukraine and former Soviet Union members joining NATO, Russia also requested a reduction in NATO’s involvement in Eastern Europe.
According to Kyiv and Western nations, these were flimsy justifications for a “imperial-style territorial grab” in Ukraine.
There must be a decision.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the president of Ukraine, declared on Friday that receiving battle tanks from the West was the only option.
In his evening address, Zelenskyy added, “The partners are principled in their attitude; they will back Ukraine to the extent required for our success.”
“Yes, there will still be a battle for the availability of modern tanks, but we are making it more and more clear that there is no other option and that a decision regarding tanks needs to be taken every day.
“The only aspect of this that is important to emphasize is the delivery time. For our defense, each arrangement must be implemented as soon as possible.
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin asked allies to increase their assistance to Ukraine.
He introduced the Ramstein summit by saying, “Russia is regrouping, recruiting, and seeking to re-equip.” “Now is not the time to relax. It’s time to delve more deeply. People in Ukraine are keeping an eye on us.
On Thursday, the US pledged an additional $2.5 billion in military assistance for Ukraine, part of which will go toward new armored vehicles and ammunition.
Without considering the German-made Leopard 2 tanks, which Finland indicated it could possibly provide if there is an agreement with allies, it recently announced a commitment of more than 400 million euros ($434 million) in defense equipment for Ukraine.
According to Poland, it will give Ukraine certain infantry vehicles and extra T-72 tanks produced in the Soviet Union.
In order to prevent the battle from spreading to NATO territory, Mariusz Blaszczak, the defense minister, stressed that “we must do everything to help Ukraine.”
The influx of additional weapons, tanks, and armored carriers comes as Ukraine has experienced fierce fighting in the region near the city of Bakhmut in the east of the country. In the upcoming months, the battles are anticipated to get more intense.