Ramstein meeting, the first step?

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The German-made Leopard tanks, which Poland and other European countries want to give to Kyiv, have still not taken the Ukrainian route. The West, which met in Ramstein on Friday, January 20, redoubled its declaration to send the equipment on site, but not the vehicles claimed by President Zelensky for the continuation of the current conflict against Russia.

Late Friday, Ukraine’s reaction was particularly bitter, after a convoluted declaration from German leaders, about the feasibility of delivering the Leopard 2 heavy tanks to Ukraine.

Volodymyr Zelensky cuts a good figure, bearing in mind that the Ramstein interview must be kept confidential, explains our correspondent in Kyiv, Stephane Siohan.

Some officials believe that pressure from other European countries, such as Poland, the Baltic, and the Czech Republic, will work to warp Germany, where these vehicles are made. In reality, however, Ukrainians were angry with the Germans, and in particular with their chancellor, Olaf Scholz.

While they know that Berlin is on Kyiv’s side in terms of financial aid, the Ukrainians are now familiar enough with military matters to know that Germany was the main European producer of tanks for decades, holding the key to the battle on the Ukrainian plains. .

In Ukraine, for many, the question is whether, despite its culpability for its actions on the eastern front during the Second World War, Germany, in 2023, is able as a political power to make a moral choice between an aggressor power and a state defending itself from aggression.

Impatience on the part of the Poles

For now, Poland, which has been pressuring Chancellor Olaf Scholz since the start of the year to send its heavy tanks across the border, will have to wait.

Warsaw will have to continue negotiating to send its own Leopard tanks, commented our correspondent on the spot, Martin Chabal. At least if the goal remained with German approval.

While Poland expects a strong decision from Berlin on this issue, during Friday’s meeting held at the location of the American base in Ramstein, in Germany, the question only revealed a certain division within NATO, you observe.

But the situation has cleared up. If Olaf Scholz does not give the go-ahead to deliver these tanks which, according to many analysts, will also provide a huge advantage for the Ukrainian army, the fifteen countries that possess the Leopard, including Germany, are in discussions to find a suitable solution. Meetings are also scheduled for the next few days.

Poland expects quick results within the framework of this coalition. Because otherwise, the government threatened to send tanks without German approval.

Signal supports Warsaw; at the Ramstein meeting, many decisions were made to provide military assistance to Ukraine. Germany was afraid to go it alone by allowing the delivery of its Leopard tanks, now that many countries have stepped up and Olaf Scholz can follow suit.

German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius after a press conference after a meeting in Ramstein, Germany, Friday, January 20, 2023. AP – Michael Probst

German opinion is undecided

Mainly because in Germany itself, the Chancellor’s reluctance to authorize this dispatch is felt differently by the population, observes our correspondent in Berlin, Nathalie Versieux.

Opinion polls have changed a lot in recent months. The number of people supporting delivery is increasing in the country. In a recent survey for the public television channel ARD, 46% of respondents supported it, and 43% opposed it.

Katrin, 63, is one of many undecided Germans. ” I believe that I am somewhat against it, because I believe that it is necessary to negotiate. But I have my doubts “, he confessed.

If there was a chance that heavy tanks would give Ukraine a better negotiating position, drive the Russians out of Ukraine… But I doubt it. And they kill. Many people.

Within the German political spectrum, it was Green Party voters who were most in favor of sending tanks to Ukraine: 63% in favor, followed by conservatives, while Social Democrats from the SPD weakly approved, at 51%.

Daniele, a 37-year-old student, voted for the ecologists. ” me for delivery she says. From my point of view, do we actually stop arms shipments, or do we actually do it. He misunderstood the head of government’s hesitancy, confident that the latter would give the go-ahead as soon as a clearer majority decided.

►Read more: Ramstein meeting: no progress on tanks requested by kyiv

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