After a months-long deadlock, the US and Germany have both reportedly agreed to send tanks to Ukraine in its fight against Russia after a number of requests. The US seems set to start the process to send its M1 Abhram Battle tanks after Germany finally gave in to mounting international pressure and agreed to send at least 12 Leopard 2 tanks.
The decision also attracted a sharp reaction from Russia. Russian envoy to the US has said it would be a ‘blatant provocation’ the Guardian reported. “If the United States decides to supply tanks, then justifying such a step with arguments about ‘defensive weapons’ will definitely not work. This would be another blatant provocation against the Russian Federation,” the international news daily quoted him as saying on the embassy’s Telegram messaging app on Wednesday.
Responding to the reports, Ukraine President Zelenskyy said that even as Russia was preparing for a new wave of aggression, he had seen “a lot of effort, words, and promises” about tanks. “But it is important to see the reality: it is not about five, or 10, or 15 tanks. The need is greater. Every day we are doing everything necessary to fill the deficit. And I am grateful to everyone who supports us in this.
However, discussions must be concluded with decisions. Decisions on real strengthening of our defence against terrorists. Allies have the required number of tanks. When the needed weighty decisions are made, we will be happy to thank you for each weighty decision,” media reports quoted him saying in his address.
Earlier, Berlin had set a condition for the US over its supply to Ukraine. Berlin said that German-made tanks will be sent to Ukraine in its fight against Russia if the United States agrees to send its own tanks, news agency Reuters reported citing a Berlin government source.
The development came after Ukraine requested new modern Western weapons, especially heavy battle tanks to help solidify its stance against Russian forces. Ukraine regained momentum this year after securing some battlefield successes in the second half of 2022 against Russian forces that invaded last February.
Germany’s Leopard 2 tank is considered one of the best in the West and armies in about 20 countries have already used the equipment. The tank weighs more than 60 tonnes and is equipped with a 120 mm smoothbore gun that can hit targets at a distance of up to five km.