Why is Germany so reluctant to deliver Leopard tanks to the Ukrainians? – The Informant

Why is Germany so reluctant to deliver Leopard tanks to the Ukrainians?

Published on 23.1.2023

Backstage games with tanks.

The British newspaper Guardian describes an amusing situation: Polish Prime Minister Morawiecki criticized Germany’s refusal to provide tanks, and German Foreign Minister Annalena Berbock replied that Poland had not even officially asked.

A German newspaper reveals what makes the German Prime Minister unsuspecting about his American ally’s tactics in support of Ukraine.

(…) Until now, the reasons for this have been given rather evasively by the German government. However, the German arms industry was concerned that the Americans were just waiting to offer the Europeans a replacement for their Leopard deliveries with their own American tanks.

The war in Ukraine offers the United States the opportunity, after helicopters, fighter planes and missiles, to gain a foothold in the European arms market with armored vehicles and to oust German competition.

This is supported by the fact that the Americans have not hidden their arms policy interests for decades.

In the 1960s, they founded the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, an agency that reports to the US Department of Defense. His job is to persuade states to buy American weapons.

The objective is to link them permanently to the United States.

For Americans, this has several advantages. Partners with the same weapons are easier to integrate into US-led military coalitions.

By buying weapons, they also ensure that their sale increases and therefore production costs decrease. This benefits the Pentagon, which has to pay less for its weapons.

Finally, the American arms industry can invest the additional revenues in the improvement and development of new weapons. This not only enhances their capabilities, but also increases “our ability to remain the most destructive military in the world.” At least that’s what it says on the website. the Defense Security Cooperation Agency.

New thoughts began circulating in the German media: “The war in Ukraine gives the United States a ‘unique opportunity’ to oust the German arms industry. “It’s about money, power and influence. »

Delivery of heavy tanks to Ukraine still blocked.

Deutsche Welle reports that about fifty countries met this Friday at the American military base in Ramstein, Germany, to discuss the aid to be given to Ukraine.

The defense ministers of this support group in kyiv have still not succeeded in deciding the question of the delivery of heavy tanks and long-range missiles to the Ukrainian army. The pressure is particularly on the shoulders of germany which has Leopard 2 tanks, requested by President Volodymyr Zelensky, who at the opening of this summit called on Westerners to “launch a major supply that will stop evil”.

But according to the new German Defense Minister, Boris Pistorius, for whom this Ramstein summit is the launching pad on the international scene, “we must weigh the pros and cons very carefully”.

New German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius speaks in front of reporters' microphones

Boris Pistorius was in Ramstein at his first international summit as Germany’s new defense minister

The question “has been discussed” but “no decision has been taken”, specifies the minister, who does not seem to be breaking with Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s line for the moment: that of procrastinating, even if it means being criticized for dragging feet in support for Ukraine.

But “the impression” that Germany alone opposes the delivery of tanks to kyiv is “false”, launched Boris Pistorius. Berlin would be ready to act quickly on the issue if there was a consensus among the allies.

Defining the military objectives of aid

For his part, the Polish Minister of Defense said on Friday that he was “convinced” that the allies will succeed in creating a coalition to deliver Leopard tanks to Ukraine.

It remains to be seen on what basis the allies are discussing. What are ultimately the final objectives of the aid given to Ukraine?

In any case, this is the question posed by several European newspapers when commenting on this summit. Like the Frankfurter Rundschau Who asks if it is a question of chasing the Russian army from the newly occupied territories, or of giving the Ukrainians a strike force capable of reconquering the Crimea?

A photo of the Leopord 2 tank

The Leopord 2 tank is widespread in Europe, which makes it easy to access ammunition and spare parts

“The answers to these questions also determine the nature and extent of the aid”, says the newspaper, which believes that neither Olaf Scholz, nor Joe Biden or Emmanuel Macron have so far “taken any decisions, nor explained their objectives.

La Repubblica in Italy would also like to know if the allies want to “allow Ukraine to repel the new and dreaded Russian offensive, or, on the contrary, to equip it with weapons allowing a large-scale counter-attack, until the reconquest of Crimea. »

Russian Spring Offensive

In the meantime, several countries have announced significant new aid. This is the case of the United Kingdom, which will deliver 14 Challenger 2 heavy tanks, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and the United States.

However, the Americans’ list still does not include the Abrams tank, the equivalent of the Leopard 2.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and US General Mark Milley at the press conference in Ramstein

US General Mark Milley (right) believes it will be difficult to drive the Russian army out of Ukrainian territory by the end of the year

“The Ukrainian people are watching us. The Kremlin is watching us. And history is watching us,” said US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. The United States says it expects a counteroffensive from Ukraine in the spring. Lloyd Austin underlined this Friday that it was for the allies to help kyiv to prepare for it.

Moscow reacted by assuring that the delivery of heavy weapons will not change anything. For the Kremlin, Western countries maintain the “illusion” of a possible Ukrainian victory “on the battlefield”.

“From a military point of view, I still maintain that it will be very, very difficult to expel Russian forces from all occupied areas of Ukraine,” the US Chief of Staff said.

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