Germany wants a transfer of American Abrams tanks to Ukraine
BERLIN, GERMANY — Sending Leopard tanks to Ukraine depends on Washington. This is what Bojan Pancevski and Elena Cherney say in their analysis of the Wall Street Journal. Germany will allow allies to supply Leopard tanks to Ukraine if the US does the same with its Abrams tanks.
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Although Germany’s federal government is divided on the issue, Chancellor Olaf Scholz continues to follow the line of denial. Mr. Scholz never said that Germany would not supply Leopard tanks to Ukraine. At the beginning of the war, he believed that such an action would provoke Russia to go to war with Germany. Today, this statement is losing more and more power and even begins to sound ridiculous. Berlin does not want to be independent in an action that could escalate tensions with Russia.
Therefore, Berlin proposed that Washington first send its ground systems to Kyiv. After that, according to analysts, there will be no obstacle for Berlin to do the same with Leopard tanks.
In the US, however, they don’t think so. Washington has many reasons not to send Abrams tanks to Ukraine. But there are just as many reasons to do so. Mr. Colin Kahl, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, Number 3 at the Pentagon has his own take on the matter. He says that Abrams is a very complex and expensive system, and training to operate it is difficult. Mr. Kahl deliberately chose not to respond to Germany’s appeal. Instead, he responded by ignoring German appeals saying that the Ukrainians could not repair and maintain this equipment in the long term.
Such a statement is clearly prepared for society. It could even be said to be controversial. Ukraine will receive the Patriot air defense system in the middle of the year. Training on this system, which is completely unknown to Ukrainian servicemen and operates in a radically different way from the Soviet S-300, takes place over two years. But Washington promised to shorten the training to a month or two.
Throwing dust in the public eye and initially glossing over Berlin’s appeals, Washington shifted the focus to Germany. In the USA, they praise the Leopard tank as one of the best in the world. An action aimed solely at putting pressure on decision-making in Berlin. “This isn’t about the news cycle or what’s symbolically valuable. It’s what will actually help Ukraine,” Dr. Kahl said referring to the deployment of Leopard tanks.
Mr. Lloyd Austin is now in Berlin. Tomorrow begins the important meeting between the allies supplying arms to Ukraine. Mr. Austin has the important task of convincing the German government that Leopard is the only solution. The Russian offensive is expected to begin soon. This will be the main claim that will have to activate the Germans to decide on the Leopard tanks. What’s more – the statements of senior officials in the administration of the American president, Mr. Joe Biden, “smells optimism” that Washington will convince Germany about the Leopard tanks.
But on the day Mr. Austin landed on German soil, Mr. Scholz “shot first” by saying Washington should supply tanks to Ukraine. And if the Americans define the Leopard as one of the best tanks in the world, Mr. Scholz added that the Abrams is the equivalent of the Leopard, not allowing the focus to be on the technical characteristics of the ground weapon system.
Somehow, among the remarks exchanged between the USA and Germany, the statement of the Secretary-General of NATO, Mr. Jens Stoltenberg, appeared. He, of course, did not take sides in the dispute over who should send what but emphasized that the delivery of armored vehicles had already begun. Mr. Stoltenberg was referring to London’s decision to send its Challenger 2 tanks, as well as France’s decision to send the AMX-10 “tank killer”.
Germany is clearly under pressure. And he’s not just from the US. Poland and the Scandinavian countries have expressed readiness to send their Leopards to Ukraine. However, Berlin must allow it. And so far, according to reports from the federal government, there has been no request to send Leopard. If it comes, they say from Berlin, we will quickly make a decision.
January 20 is a key date for Ukraine. It is expected that a decision will be made in Ramstein on whether and what tanks will be sent. But some independent observers and experts say that Germany will not make a decision on January 20. According to them, it will take more time.
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