No NATO agreement to send tanks to Ukraine

The NATO countries’ military leaders gathered in Brussels on Thursday, the day before around 50 defense leaders in the so-called Contact Group for Ukraine meet at the American Ramstein base in Germany.

Germany has made it clear that Ukraine will only get German-made Leopard tanks if the US sends American-made Abrams tanks to the country.

A high-ranking official in the Pentagon, Colin Kahl, stated on Wednesday that the United States is not yet willing to comply with this.

– We are probably not there yet. The Abrams tanks are very complicated. They are expensive. It is difficult to train them to use them. They have a jet engine, Kahl added Reuters.

The pressure is increasing

However, the pressure on Germany is increasing within NATO, where several countries, including Denmark, Poland and Lithuania, have said they are willing to supply Ukraine with Leopard tanks. But it requires the German government’s approval.

However, Poland has threatened to send German-made tanks to Ukraine without its blessing, which will not be well received in Berlin.

Although Prime Minister Olaf Scholz receives criticism from the opposition, he has public opinion on his side, a recent opinion poll shows.

43 percent of respondents say they are against sending Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, while 39 percent say they are in favor, according to the YouGov survey carried out for the DPA news agency.

Should get

Russia uses tanks, and therefore Ukraine also uses tanks, said the head of NATO’s military committee, Admiral Rob Bauer, at a press conference after Thursday’s meeting in Brussels.

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Admiral Rob Bauer, head of NATO’s military committee, at Thursday’s press conference in Brussels. Photo: Virginia Mayo/AP/NTB

EU President Charles Michel, who visited Kyiv on Thursday, also believes that Ukraine should get tanks.

– I firmly believe that tanks must be sent, tweeted Michel after a meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyi.

Older tanks

Only Great Britain has so far promised to send tanks to Ukraine, but according to British media, it is currently only about four tanks of the Challenger 2 type. After that, the plan is to send eight more, but it is unclear when.

The Challenger 2 is the third generation of this model, but is over 20 years old.

The Ukrainian General Staff, for its part, has estimated that at least 300 tanks are needed to be able to carry out a successful counter-offensive against the Russian forces, which control 18 percent of the country.

Stormtroopers

Several countries have already sent armored personnel carriers to Ukraine, but these are lightly armored and more suitable for personnel transport than attacks.

France has promised to contribute with storm armored vehicles of the type AMX-10 RC, a model that saw the light of day all the way back in the 1970s.

Germany has sent 40 Marder type armored personnel carriers, and the United States has contributed lightly armored Bradley armored personnel carriers that were first used just over 40 years ago.

New promises

In recent days, several countries have announced shipments of new weapons systems to Ukraine, among them Sweden who will contribute the Archer artillery system, Denmark who will send Caesar howitzers and the British who will send a further 600 Brimstone missiles.

Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania were also among the countries that on Thursday promised to contribute more weapons, including Stinger missiles, anti-aircraft guns of the S-60 type and machine guns.

Other Nato countries share Germany’s and the US’s concern both when it comes to contributing modern tanks and other high-tech weapons systems and fear that the war could escalate and that Nato would eventually be drawn directly into hostilities.

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