Delivery of heavy tanks to Ukraine: USA and Germany stall | War in Ukraine

Ukraine has been asking Westerners for weeks for modern tanks to repel the Russian invasion, but so far they have only sent light tanks and armored personnel carriers.

The United States is not ready to give Ukraine its most advanced heavy tanks for maintenance and training purposes, a senior Pentagon official said Wednesday.

I don’t think we’re thereColin Kahl, the Pentagon’s No. 3 official, said during a press briefing when asked about the possibility of sending Abrams tanks to Kiev after Britain announced last weekend that it was the first country to pledge heavy tanks, the Challenger 2s.

The Abrams tank is a very complex piece of equipment. It’s expensive, requires heavy training, and has a jet engine. I think it consumes 11 liters of kerosene per kilometer. It’s not the easiest system to maintain. »

quote from Colin Kahl, Strategy Advisor to the US Secretary of Defense

Abrams tank during a military exercise in Georgia in 2016

Photo: Associated Press/Shah Ayvazov

The Defense Minister’s Strategy Adviser, however, did not rule out the possibility that his country, which has already spent $24 billion on Ukraine’s defense, might change its mind about the possibility of supplying it with such equipment.

According to him, the Secretary of Defense of the United States, Lloyd Austin, has so far carefully avoided providing weapons to the Ukrainians. can’t fix, can’t protect and can’t pay in the long runthis includes the Abrams tank.

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Subject to the export of American tanks

On the German side, Chancellor Olaf Scholz stipulated the export of German-made tanks to Ukraine with the Americans.

In other words, Berlin will allow the export of German-made Leopard 2 tanks, the spearhead of the European arsenal, only when the United States sends its tanks to the Ukrainian front line. This was reported by a source in the German government.

Mr. Scholz has emphasized that condition several times in private in recent days, according to the same source, who preferred to remain anonymous.

This information was also published by a German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung also by The Wall Street Journal. contacted withAFPThe spokesman of the German government refused to confirm this information.

A tank in the water.

Many countries have Leopard 2 tanks built in Germany.

Photo: Getty Images/Sean Gallup

Leopard 2 tanks are unanimously considered the only viable option to massively support Ukraine, but their delivery has been stalled by the Berlin deal, which has delayed giving the green light to the countries that have them.

Indeed, Germany does not allow the countries that buy this equipment to export it to a third country. The leaders of Finland, Lithuania, Poland and Britain again called for an urgent decision on Tuesday.

Last weekend, the UK in turn committed to supply the modern Challenger 2 tanks, which would be the first delivery of Western-made heavy tanks.

Allied meeting on Friday

About 50 allied nations will meet on Friday at a US military base in Ramstein, Germany, to discuss additional military support for Ukraine, which is currently the scene of bloody fighting around the eastern towns of Soledar and Bakhmut.

The main message will be to increase support with heavier and more modern weaponsJens Stoltenberg, secretary general of the organization, said thisNATODuring the round table in Davos.

Some time ago, the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, intervened through a video conference call for speed It was hard not to see a hint of Germany’s reluctance to allow Leopard 2 tanks to be delivered to its country.

U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters that the U.S. should not offer to export its tanks at the meeting, but instead commit to supplying Canadian-made Stryker armored vehicles.

Soldiers near the tank.

Soldiers next to a Stryker tank in Vilseck, Germany in 2022

Photo: Associated Press/Michael Probst

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