War in Ukraine: In Ramstein, no agreement between allies on delivery of Leopard 2 tanks to kyiv, Berlin denies blocking it
No agreement on the supply of German Leopard tanks to Ukraine could be reached on Friday in Ramstein, where the defense ministers of the Kyiv allies were meeting, even if Berlin denied blocking these deliveries.
Speaking at the end of the conference held at a NATO air base in west Germany, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin emphasized that he important for delivering new military equipment to Ukraine ahead of an expected escalation of fighting between Russian and Ukrainian troops in the spring.
\ud83d\udd34\ud83d\udde3\ufe0f “On the supply of Leopard tanks, a decision has not been made. Our goal is to provide Ukraine with what it needs: immediately.” Lloyd Austin, US Secretary of Defense
\ud83d\udcf2 On #La26 pic.twitter.com/7B7YFgmHcC
— LCI (@LCI) January 20, 2023
“Russia is regrouping, recruiting and trying to re-equip”she says. “Now is not the time to slow down.”
War in Ukraine: Berlin will send its Leopard tanks to Kyiv only if the United States agrees to send its own as well
“We have a window of opportunity between now and spring or whenever they (Ukraine) choose to launch a counterattack, it’s not much time”the chief of the Pentagon insisted.
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Lloyd Austin, who was praised in Germany a “reliable ally”considered the list of equipment to be sent to Ukraine that the ministers agreed on Friday to be very complete, even without leopard tanks. “Ukraine does not depend on one platform”she says.
\ud83d\udd34\ud83d\udde3\ufe0f Did Germany do enough to take over its leadership in Europe?
“Yes. He contributed a lot. Of course Germany is a reliable ally.” Lloyd Austin, US Secretary of Defense
\ud83d\udcf2 On #La26 pic.twitter.com/5KiIMFSMbD
— LCI (@LCI) January 20, 2023
The German government had veto power over the export of these tanks, and Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s government was apparently reluctant to grant them permission for fear of causing Russian escalationdespite intense pressure from Kyiv and its Western allies.
Berlin says it wants to act in accordance with its allies, as confirmed by Germany’s new Defense Minister, Boris Pistorius.
“There are good reasons for delivery and there are good reasons for refusing, and given the whole war situation that has been going on for almost a year, all the pros and cons must be weighed very carefully”he told reporters, without elaborating on what he considered the gains or losses.
“The impression, which is sometimes given, that there is a tight-knit coalition and that Germany is blocking it, this impression is wrong”he added.
The Leopard tank, which was produced by thousands of Germans during the Cold War, is currently in use by some European armies and several such nations Poland and Finland have announced that they are ready to ship some to Ukraine.
Finland announced on Friday new aid of more than 400 million euros in defense equipment to Ukraine, which does not include the Leopard tanks it has.
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On Friday morning, Poland warned that it could send Leopard tanks without permission from Berlin.
“If there is strong resistance, we will be prepared to take non-standard measures”Deputy Foreign Minister Pawel Jablonski told private radio station RMF FM.
Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak, however, expressed his optimism at the end Ramstein meeting. “I believe we will succeed in building a coalition”she says.
Ukraine and Russia mainly rely on T-72 tanks the Soviet era, destroyed by hundreds since its inception, on February 24, 2022, a war that Russian President Vladimir Putin described as a “special military operation”.
Moscow said on Friday that the delivery of tanks to Kyiv would not change the course of the conflict and that the West would regret being in it‘”illusion” from one possible victory for Ukraine.