The US and Germany have dropped their longstanding denial of tanks for Ukraine. On Jan. 25, the Biden administration announced the consignment of two M-1 Abrams tanks brigades and a unit of “recovery vehicles” for repairing tanks. In Berlin, Chancellor Olaf Scholz said he was now ready to make available to the Ukraine forces the same number of hitherto withheld Leopard 2 tanks. Germany also lifted its veto on those tanks being released to Ukraine by the allied armies using them – Spain, Sweden, Norway and Holland.
Furthermore the British government assigned a supply of its heavy Challenger 2 tanks to Kyiv, alongside France’s offer of light AMX 10-RC tanks to the same recipient.
In response, Andriy Yermak, head of the Ukrainian presidential bureau said: “A few hundred tanks for our tank crews… That is going to become a real punching fist of democracy.”
However, speaking from Mocow, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov remarked, “Technologically, this is a failed plan. This is an overestimation of the potential that this will add to the Ukrainian army,” He warned: “These tanks will burn like all the rest. They are just very expensive.”
Russia’s ambassador to Berlin, Sergei Nechaev, denounced Germany’s decision as a repudiation of its historic commitment to Germany in the light of its war crimes against Russia in WWII. “This extreme and dangerous decision takes the conflict to a new level,” he said.
Chief of US armed forces Gen. Mark Milley, unenthusiastic about the benefit the tanks will contribute to Ukraine’s war effort, said, “I still maintain that from this year, it would be very, very difficult to mililtarily eject Russian forces from every inch of Russian-occupied Ukraine,” he warned.
Russia is meanwhile running its own arms buildup. This week, Moscow cut a deal with Tehran for the substantial supply of Iranian ballistic missiles to the Russian army. Informed sources estimate the deal as covering 1,000 Fatteh 110 Zolfaghar ballistic missiles.
Both sides are therefore busy massively building up their armaments and military resources in preparation for the spring offensive Moscow has promised to launch when the snows melt, planning to wrest success from 11 dragging months of its military operation in Ukraine. Kyiv is gearing up for a counter-offensive. Both believe that a turning-point is at hand.