Ukrainians united this week by wearing their favorite leopard print outfits in an effort to send a message to Germany – and here’s why.
Ukraine’s allies have been providing arms to the country since Russia’s invasion last February, but Kyiv’s recent request for Leopard II tanks was met with hesitation.
Although Germany made a U-turn on Wednesday, Berlin was reluctant to allow these special tanks to be sent to Ukraine weeks ago.
The Leopards were all made in Germany, so it had to give explicit permission for any tanks to be re-exported, even if they were coming from other countries.
Germany’s hesitation is believed to stem from concerns that it would escalate Ukraine’s war with Russia by sending such heavy armor – even though the West has been sending similar equipment for months – and that the US It was more of a joint action.
Ukraine was particularly keen on Leopard II tanks because of the firepower and mobility they offered, which should help them cut through Russian defensive lines and retake land currently occupied by Russian forces.
Equipment is also urgently needed, as troops are to be trained on tanks and Russia is expected to launch a heavy spring offensive soon.
Ukraine and Russia both currently have only Soviet-built tanks in stock, with Moscow reportedly sending substandard tanks into battle.
So, naturally, the Ukrainians took matters into their own hands – and began campaigning for the Leopards through their organizations….
However, it was not only Ukrainians on social media who were pushing Germany to act.
Berlin came under significant pressure from other Western allies, especially after Poland suggested that it could send its Leopard II tanks to Ukraine without Germany’s permission.
After the UK sent 14 Challenger 2 tanks this week, Berlin announced it would send 14 of its highly sought-after tanks, and allow other countries to send their supplies as well.
The US is expected to announce its plans to send Abrams tanks soon.
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