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US and Germany are sending battle tanks to back Ukraine war effort

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Germany and the United States have said they will send tanks to Ukraine, part of a coordinated effort by the West to provide dozens of heavy weapons to help Kyiv break the battlefield standoff as Russia’s invasion enters its 12th month. First stage.

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Resident Joe Biden said the US would send 31 M1 Abrams battle tanks to Ukraine, reversing months of persistent arguments by Washington that the tanks were too difficult for Ukrainian troops to operate and maintain.

Following the US decision, Germany has agreed to send 14 Leopard 2A6 tanks from its stock.

Germany had stated that the Leopards would not be sent until the US put its Abrams on the table, not wanting to incur the wrath of Russia without the US likewise having its own tanks.

Germany said it would initially provide Ukraine with a company 2 A6 tanks or 14 vehicles of the Leopard.

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The goal is for Germany and its allies to provide Ukraine with 88 of the German-built Leopards, consisting of two battalions.

“This is once again the result of intense discussions with our allies and international partners,” Chancellor Olaf Scholz said in an address to German legislators.

“It was the right thing to do and it is important that we did not let ourselves be swayed (in making the decision),” he said.

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Mr Biden said European allies have agreed to send enough tanks to equip two Ukrainian tank battalions, or a total of 62 tanks.

“Spring is coming, the Ukrainian military is working to defend the territory it has occupied and is preparing for additional retaliatory strikes,” the US president said.

“To liberate their land, they need to be able to counter Russia’s evolving strategy and tactics on the battlefield in the very near term.”

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky expressed satisfaction at the news.

Several European countries have equipped their armies with Leopard 2 tanks, and Germany’s announcement means they may offer some of their stocks to Ukraine.

“Further expansion of German main battle tanks, defense support and training missions, green light for partners to supply similar weapons. Just heard about these important and timely decisions taken in a call with Olaf Scholz, Mr. Zelensky wrote on Twitter.

“Sincerely grateful to the Chancellor and to all our friends in (Germany).”

Mr Scholz spoke by phone on Wednesday afternoon with Mr Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, the German chancellor said in a statement.

The exchange focused on the security situation in Ukraine and continued support for Ukraine’s fight against Russian aggression.

All five leaders agreed to continue military support to Ukraine in Euro-Atlantic coordination.

The long-awaited decision came after US officials disclosed on Tuesday that a preliminary agreement has been reached for the United States to send M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine to help troops push back Russian forces, which Russia It is located in the east of the country about a year after the invasion of its neighboring country.

It is unclear when or how the tanks will be delivered to Ukraine, or how soon they could have an impact on the battlefield.

Military analysts have said that the Russian military is believed to be preparing for a spring offensive.

The $400 million (£323 million) package announced on Wednesday also includes eight M88 recovery vehicles – tank-like tracked vehicles that can tow the Abrams if it gets stuck.

In total, France, Britain, the US, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden will send hundreds of tanks and heavy armored vehicles to reinforce Ukraine as it enters a new phase of the war and attempts to break through Russian lines.

While supporters of Ukraine had previously supplied the tanks, they were Soviet models in the stockpiles of countries that were once in Moscow’s sphere of influence but are now aligned with the West.

Mr Zelensky and other Ukrainian officials insisted their forces needed more modern Western-designed tanks.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg welcomed Germany’s decision.

“At a critical moment in the war against Russia, these can help Ukraine defend itself, win, and prevail as an independent nation,” Stoltenberg wrote on Twitter.

Russia’s ambassador to Germany, Sergei Nechayev, called Berlin’s decision to send 2 Leopard tanks to Ukraine “extremely dangerous”, adding that it “takes the conflict to a new level of confrontation and its unwillingness to engage”. contradicts the statements of German politicians about ,

Mr Scholz had insisted that any decision to provide Ukraine with the powerful Leopard 2 tanks must be taken in conjunction with Germany’s allies, primarily the US.

By handing over some of its tanks to Washington, Berlin hopes to share the risk of any response from Russia.

Eckhard Bross, head of the German military’s Federal Academy for Security Policy, said tying the United States to the decision was important to avoid Europe facing a nuclear-armed Russia alone.

But he also noted the deeper historical significance of the decision.

“German-made tanks will once again face Russian tanks in Ukraine,” he said, adding that it was “not an easy thought” for Germany, which takes seriously its responsibility for the horrors of World War II.

“And yet it is the right decision,” Mr Bros said, arguing that it was up to Western democracies to help Ukraine stop Russia’s military campaign.

Just because of the technical aspects, this is a disastrous planKremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov

German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius cautioned that it would take about three months to deploy the first tanks in Ukraine.

He described the Leopard 2 as “the best battle tank in the world”.

“It is a significant game changer, possibly even for this war, at least at the current stage,” he said.

The German government said it planned to rapidly begin training Ukrainian tank crews in Germany.

The package being put together will also include logistics, ammunition and maintenance.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov described German and American intentions as a “rather disastrous plan”.

“I believe that many experts understand the absurdity of this idea,” said Mr. Peskov.

“Just because of technical aspects, this is a disastrous plan. The main thing is that it is a completely clear overestimation of the potential (supply of tanks) that will add to the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Till there is another fallacy, but rather deep.

As a result, there is a risk of Germany being involved in a direct war.Tino Chorupalla, the far-right alternative to the Germany party

Peskov predicted, “These tanks will burn out just like other tanks… except they cost a lot more, and it will fall on the shoulders of European taxpayers”, he said.

Germany has already provided Ukraine with a significant amount of military hardware, including the powerful PzH 2000 howitzer, the Iris-T air-defense system and the Gepard self-propelled anti-aircraft gun, which has proven highly effective against Russian drones .

It also announced plans to supply Patriot air-defense batteries and Marauder infantry fighting vehicles.

Prior to Mr Scholz’s official announcement, members of his three-party coalition government welcomed the cabinet’s agreement to supply domestically-made tanks.

“The panther is free!” said Katrin Göring-Eckardt, a senior lawmaker from the Green Party in Germany.

However, two smaller opposition parties criticized the move.

The far-right alternative to Germany, which has friendly relations with Russia, called the decision “irresponsible and dangerous”.

Party co-leader Tino Chorupalla said, “As a result Germany is running the risk of getting involved in a direct war.”

Mr. Scholz tried to reassure those in his country who were worried about the effects of sending tanks to Ukraine.

He said, ‘Trust me, trust the government.

“By working in a coordinated manner internationally, we will ensure that this support is possible without the risk of our country heading in the wrong direction.”

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, who has previously questioned Germany’s commitment to helping Ukraine, thanked Mr Scholz on Twitter for the “big step towards stopping Russia”.

Other European countries such as Finland and Spain on Wednesday indicated a willingness to participate with their own Leopard or similar battle tanks as part of a larger alliance.

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who said he planned to send 14 of his Challenger 2 tanks to Ukraine, welcomed Germany’s decision to “strengthen Ukraine’s defensive firepower”.

“Together, we are accelerating our efforts to ensure that Ukraine can win this war and ensure lasting peace,” Mr Sunak said on Twitter.

Still, it’s unclear whether Ukraine will receive an estimated 300 tanks analysts say are needed to prevent Russia’s advance into Donetsk, Luhansk and Zaporizhia provinces and suppress a counteroffensive in the country’s southeast .

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