U.S., Germany poised to send tanks to Ukraine, answering Kyiv’s pleas

  • Ukraine said tanks would be a ‘punch’ for democracy
  • Kyiv predicts renewed Russian pressure for Bakhmut
  • Ukraine purges leadership in anti-corruption campaign.

Berlin/Kyiv, January 25, 2010 (FBC) Sources said that the United States and Germany are preparing to provide significant support in the delivery of heavy battle tanks to Ukraine for the Kiev war.

Washington will send M1 Abrams tanks as soon as Wednesday and Berlin has decided to send Leopard 2 tanks, the sources said, announcing a policy shift that Kyiv says will help reframe the conflict.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky reiterated pressure on his Western allies to provide the most modern battle tanks, saying in an evening video conference that “discussions must end with decisions.”

Germany and the United States have refrained from providing heavy weapons to the Kremlin, wary of actions that could escalate the conflict.

Moscow has warned that modern offensive weapons reaching Ukraine will escalate the war, with some Russian officials warning that Kiev’s allies are leading the world into a “global catastrophe”. Moscow has repeatedly said that it is now fighting the collective West in Ukraine.

Washington’s possible delivery of tanks to Ukraine is “another clear provocation” against Russia, Russian Ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov said on Wednesday.

“It is clear that Washington is deliberately trying to inflict a strategic defeat on us,” Antonov said in comments posted on the embassy’s Telegram messaging app.

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Two U.S. officials told Reuters on Tuesday that Washington was finally ready to begin the process of sending M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, just days after it rejected Kiev’s request.

A third official said the U.S. commitment could total about 30 tanks in the coming months.

Meanwhile, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is considering sending Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine and allowing other countries such as Poland to do so, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Spiegel magazine, which first reported the news, said that Germany plans to supply at least one company with Leopard 2 A6 tanks. Other allies in Scandinavia, along with Germany, plan to supply Kiev with Tiger tanks, the magazine reported.

While there has been no official confirmation from Berlin or Washington, Kiev officials have hailed what they say could be a game-changer on the battlefield in the now 11-month-old war – even as the rumored tank numbers fall below the hundreds they say they need to liberate all the holdings.

“A few hundred tanks for our tank crew… This will be a real democratic punch,” Zelensky administration chief Andrei Yarmak said on Telegram.

The front lines are frozen

The fighting, which stretches more than 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) across eastern and southern Ukraine, has largely been frozen for two months, despite heavy casualties on both sides. Russia and Ukraine are widely believed to be planning new attacks.

Zelensky announced Tuesday night that Russia had stepped up its advance on Bakhmut, an industrial city in eastern Ukraine that has been the focus of intense fighting. “They want to increase the pressure to a greater extent,” he said.

The failure to supply Ukraine with large numbers of modern heavy tanks has dominated discussions among Kiev’s Western allies in recent days.

Berlin became a hot spot as nearly 20 armed forces around the world saw the German-made Leopards as the best option. The tanks are widely available and easy to deploy and maintain.

While US Abrams tanks are considered unsuitable due to their heavy fuel consumption and difficulty in maintaining them, the US move to send them to Ukraine will make it easier for Germany – the allied arm of Ukraine’s allies – to approve their supply. Tigers.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a “special military operation” on February 24 last year, when his troops invaded Ukraine, as a defensive and existential war against the aggressive and arrogant West.

Ukraine and the West call Russia’s actions an unwanted land grab to bring the former Soviet republic, which Moscow views as an artificial state, to its knees.

Clearing the lead

Separately on Tuesday, Ukraine dismissed more than a dozen senior officials as part of an anti-corruption crackdown aimed at keeping its Western backers at bay.

The European Union, which offered Ukraine candidate status last June, welcomed the development.

Among the Ukrainian officials who resigned or were dismissed were the governors of Kyiv, Sumy, Dnipropetrovsk, Kherson and Zaporizhia regions, the last three front-line provinces. Kyiv and Sumy were major battlegrounds earlier in the war.

Some, though not all, officials have been linked to corruption charges.

Ukraine has a history of corruption and shaky governance and is under international pressure to show it can be a reliable steward of billions of dollars in Western aid.

Reuters bureaus report; Writing by Cynthia Osterman and Stephen Coates; Editing by Himani Sarkar

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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