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US, Germany Head for Showdown over Sending Weapons to Ukraine

Heavy tanks are at the top of the list because Kyiv claims it needs them to fend off future Russian assaults

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Sadaf Hasan
Sadaf Hasan
Aspiring reporter covering trending topics

UKRAINE: On Thursday, Ukraine appealed to the West to finally provide its heavy tanks as the defence chiefs of the US and Germany headed for a showdown over sending weapons that, according to Kyiv, may decide the fate of the conflict.

US and Germany gears up to send weapons to Ukraine

Lloyd Austin, the US Defense Secretary, will be present in Germany on Thursday to meet with that country’s new defence minister, just one day before they host a summit of many allies to pledge weapons for Ukraine.

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The aim of that meeting, which will take place at the American Ramstein air base in Germany, is to provide the weapons to change the conflict’s momentum in 2023.

Heavy tanks are at the top of the list because Kyiv claims it needs them to fend off future Russian assaults and mount counteroffensives to retake its occupied territory.

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The head of the Ukrainian presidential administration, Andriy Yermak, tweeted on Thursday on the messaging app Telegram, “We have no time; the world does not have this time.”

“It is imperative to resolve the tank issue for Ukraine as quickly as possible. The lives of the Ukrainian people are what we are paying for our inaction. That shouldn’t be the case,” Yermak added.

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Volodymyr Zelenskiy, the president of Ukraine, made a similar appeal to world leaders assembled at the World Economic Forum in Davos via a video link on Wednesday, pleading with them to provide his nation with supplies before Russia launches its imminent missile and armoured ground attacks.

Zelenskiy said, “The supplies of Western tanks must outpace another invasion of Russian tanks.”

However, in order for the West to send tanks, Washington will need to find a way to break the impasse with Berlin, which has so far refused to give nations permission to send its Leopard 2 tanks, which are the mainstay of the military throughout Europe.

The Leopards, which Germany produced in their thousands and exported to its allies during the Cold War, are the only appropriate choice that is available in sufficient quantities, according to Washington and many Western allies.

A German government source claimed that if Washington sent its own Abrams tanks, Berlin would revoke its objections.

The Abrams, however, is unsuited for Ukraine, according to US sources, since it is powered by turbine engines, which require too much gasoline for Kyiv’s weakened logistics infrastructure to keep them supplied at the front.

Poland and Finland have already pledged to contribute Leopards, and other states have made comparable commitments, assuming Germany waives its veto.

Last week, Britain broke the taboo on heavy tanks and offered a squadron from its fleet of Challengers, even though there are far fewer of these than there are Leopards. This increased the pressure.

The Pentagon’s senior policy advisor, Colin Kahl, stated on Wednesday that in Washington’s next $2 billion military aid package, which includes Stryker armoured vehicles, Abrams tanks wouldn’t be included.

“I merely don’t believe we are there yet. The Abrams tank is an extraordinarily difficult piece of machinery. It is pricey. It’s challenging to train on. It’s jet-powered,” Kahl said.

Ukraine, which has relied mostly on Soviet-era T-72 tanks during the 11-month battle, says Western tanks have more effective armour and weaponry to drive out Russian forces in the decisive wars.

Warfare has been centred in Ukraine’s south and east after Russia’s first attack from the north intended to capture Kiev was thwarted during the initial months of Russia’s “special military operation.”

Also Read: Germany: Crime Syndicate Led by Moroccan Migrants Continues to Rise Unabated


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