After US offer, Germany unleashes Leopard tanks for Ukraine | www.elmarko.net - ELMARKO.NET After US offer, Germany unleashes Leopard tanks for Ukraine | www.elmarko.net

After US offer, Germany unleashes Leopard tanks for Ukraine | www.elmarko.net

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By FRANK JORDANS and KIRSTEN GRIESHABER Associated Press

BERLIN — After weeks of hesitation that created impatience among Germany’s allies, Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced Wednesday that his authorities would supply Ukraine with Leopard 2 conflict tanks and o.k. requests by different countries to bash the same.

The German authorities said it would initially supply Ukraine with 1 institution of Leopard 2 A6 tanks, oregon 14 vehicles. The extremity is for Germany and its allies to supply Ukraine with 88 of the German-made Leopards, which comprise 2 battalions.

“This is the effect of intensive consultations, erstwhile again, with our allies and planetary partners,” Scholz said successful an code to German lawmakers.

“It was close and it is important that we didn’t fto ourselves beryllium driven (into making the decision),” helium added.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy expressed restitution astatine the news. Several European countries person equipped their armies with Leopard 2 tanks, and Germany’s announcement means they tin springiness immoderate of their stocks to Ukraine.

“German main conflict tanks, further broadening of defence enactment and grooming missions, greenish airy for partners to proviso akin weapons. Just heard astir these important and timely decisions successful a telephone with Olaf Scholz,” Zelenskyy wrote connected Twitter. “Sincerely grateful to the chancellor and each our friends successful (Germany).”

The long-awaited determination came aft U.S. officials revealed Tuesday a preliminary statement for the United States to nonstop M1 Abrams tanks to assistance Ukraine’s troops propulsion backmost Russian forces that stay entrenched successful the country’s eastbound astir a twelvemonth aft Russia invaded its neighbor. The officials spoke connected information of anonymity due to the fact that the determination has not yet been made public.

It is not wide erstwhile oregon however the tanks would beryllium delivered to Ukraine, oregon however soon they could person an interaction connected the battlefield. Military analysts person said Russian forces are thought to beryllium preparing for a outpouring offensive.

While Ukraine’s supporters antecedently person supplied tanks, they were Soviet models successful the stockpiles of countries that erstwhile were successful Moscow’s sphere of power but are present aligned with the West. Zelenskyy and different Ukrainian officials insisted their forces request much modern Western-designed tanks to decision Russia.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg welcomed Germany’s decision. “At a captious infinitesimal successful Russia’s war, these tin assistance Ukraine to support itself, triumph and prevail arsenic an autarkic nation,” Stoltenberg wrote connected Twitter.

Russia’s ambassador to Germany, Sergey Nechayev, called Berlin’s determination to nonstop Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine “extremely dangerous.”

The determination “shifts the struggle to a caller level of confrontation and contradicts the statements of German politicians astir their reluctance to get progressive successful it,” Nechayev said successful a statement.

“We’re seeing yet again that Germany, arsenic good arsenic its closest allies, is not funny successful a diplomatic solution of the Ukraine crisis. it is determined to permanently escalate it and to indefinitely pump the Kyiv authorities afloat of caller lethal weapons,” the connection read.

Scholz had insisted that immoderate determination to supply Ukraine with almighty Leopard 2 tanks would request to beryllium taken successful conjunction with Germany’s allies, chiefly the United States. By getting Washington to perpetrate immoderate of its ain tanks, Berlin hopes to stock the hazard of immoderate backlash from Russia.

Ekkehard Brose, caput of the German military’s Federal Academy for Security Policy, said tying the United States into the determination was crucial, to debar Europe facing a nuclear-armed Russia alone.

But helium besides noted the deeper historical value of the decision.

“German-made tanks volition look disconnected against Russian tanks successful Ukraine erstwhile more,” helium said, adding that this was “not an casual thought” for Germany, which takes its work for the horrors of World War II seriously.

“And yet it is the close decision,” Brose said, arguing that it was up to Western democracies to assistance Ukraine halt Russia’s subject campaign.

German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius cautioned that it would instrumentality astir 3 months for the archetypal tanks to beryllium deployed successful Ukraine. He described the Leopard 2 arsenic “the champion conflict vessel successful the world.”

“This is an important crippled change, perchance besides for this war, astatine slightest successful the existent phase,” helium said.

The German authorities said it planned to swiftly statesman grooming Ukrainian vessel crews successful Germany. The bundle being enactment unneurotic would besides see logistics, ammunition and maintenance.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov described German and U.S. intentions with the tanks arsenic a “a alternatively disastrous plan.”

“I americium convinced that galore specialists recognize the absurdity of this idea,” Peskov told reporters Wednesday.

“Simply due to the fact that of technological aspects, this is simply a alternatively disastrous plan. The main happening is, this is simply a wholly evident overestimation of the imaginable (the proviso of tanks) would adhd to the equipped forces of Ukraine. It is yet different fallacy, a alternatively profound one,” the Kremlin authoritative said.

Peskov predicted “these tanks volition pain down conscionable similar each the different ones. … Except they outgo a lot, and this volition autumn connected the shoulders of European taxpayers.” helium added.

Germany has already provided sizeable amounts of subject hardware to Ukraine, including almighty PzH 2000 howitzers, Iris-T air-defense systems and Gepard self-propelled anti-aircraft guns that person proved highly effectual against Russian drones. It besides announced plans to proviso a Patriot air-defense artillery and Marder infantry warring vehicles.

Ahead of Scholz’s authoritative announcement, members of his three-party conjugation authorities welcomed the Cabinet’s statement to proviso the domestically made tanks.

“The Leopard’s freed!” German lawmaker Katrin Goering-Eckardt, a elder Green enactment lawmaker, said.

However, 2 smaller absorption parties criticized the move. The far-right Alternative for Germany, which has affable ties to Russia, called the determination “irresponsible and dangerous.”

“Germany risks being drawn straight into the warfare arsenic a result,” enactment co-leader Tino Chrupalla said.

The Left party, which besides has historical links to Moscow, warned of a imaginable escalation successful the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

Recent sentiment polls showed German voters divided connected the idea.

Scholz sought to reassure radical successful his state who were acrophobic astir the implications of sending tanks to Ukraine.

“Trust me, spot the government,” helium said. “By acting successful an internationally coordinated manner, we volition guarantee that this enactment is imaginable without the risks to our state increasing successful the incorrect direction.”

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, who had antecedently called into question Germany’s committedness to helping Ukraine, thanked Scholz pursuing Wednesday’s announcement.

“The determination to nonstop Leopards to Ukraine is simply a large measurement towards stopping Russia,” Morawiecki wrote connected Twitter. “Together we are stronger.”

Other European nations, specified arsenic Finland and Spain, indicated a willingness Wednesday to portion with their ain Leopard oregon akin conflict tanks arsenic portion of a larger coalition.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak of Britain, which had said it planned to nonstop 14 of its Challenger 2 tanks to Ukraine, welcomed Germany’s determination to further “strengthen Ukraine’s antiaircraft firepower.”

“Together, we are accelerating our efforts to guarantee Ukraine wins this warfare and secures a lasting peace,” Sunak said connected Twitter.

Still, it isn’t wide whether Ukraine volition person the estimated 300 tanks that analysts accidental are required to support Russia from advancing successful Donetsk, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia provinces and to property a counteroffensive successful the country’s southeast.

Andriy Yermak, caput of the Ukrainian president’s office, said connected Telegram aft Germany’s announcement that “many Leopards are needed.”

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