At first glance, especially given the position that Germany continues to hold openly, the delivery of tanks to Ukraine seems to be in the air. But there is growing evidence that this step has been decided, even for Berlin. Not only has London announced imminent delivery of 14 Challenger 2’s, France has mentioned the AMX-56 Leclerc, Poland and other NATO allies are willing to supply Kyiv with the Leopard 2 A4, but Germany itself has not given up on discussions which cost it considerable image, acknowledging that it is already directing the Ukrainian crew to deal with the latter, while, through the mouth of its foreign minister, it understands that it will not create obstacles to Poland’s intentions.
Just a few months ago, obituaries were being repeated about the utility of main battle tanks in today’s conventional warfare – described as obsolete after an impressive spot-on presence of anti-tank missiles, drones and attack helicopters And now they seem to be returning to definitely gain exaggerated prominence. That’s why, first of all, it should be clear that even if Kyiv’s demands are met – 300 tanks, along with 600-700 armored infantry vehicles and 500 cannons and howitzers (preferably self-propelled) – a victory for the Ukrainians By no means guaranteed. In layman’s terms, with these cars, Ukraine can only break the tie.
Russia is currently estimated to have about 1,500 battle tanks – not all of which are deployed on the Ukrainian front lines – and Ukraine has about 1,400 (of which at least 500 are sizable booty, taking advantage of Russia’s hasty retreat on many fronts) . They are basically both Soviet and Russian made, so are very similar in terms of performance. It can be deduced from this that in the scenario approaching late winter and early spring – when the ambitious offensive substantially disrupted the situation on the battlefield – neither side had the decisive material to impose its own orders. It was there that Western tanks – far superior to what Russia could put into service – gained undeniable importance.
For that reason, to the extent that more than 50 members of a contact group that met in Ramstein on Friday said they remained ready to support Ukraine to the extent necessary, there was little doubt that they would be willing to let the cars go use. Ukrainian hands. From a strictly military standpoint, the most rational thing to do is to bet on Leopard 2. Unless you want to complicate the mission of Kyiv, the most logical option is to choose this model, taking advantage of the fact that at least a dozen European and NATO countries have him; in this way, the full absorption of new weapons is mitigated The logistical and training burden involved shortens the deadline for making it fully operational.
Regardless, things that seem clear militarily are viewed differently at the political level. For Germany – whose approval of Warsaw and other capitals to move cars to Kyiv is crucial given its status as a manufacturer and exporter – the predicament it now faces is considerable. Not only does he risk tarnishing his own image — despite being Ukraine’s second-largest provider of military aid after the United States — and ruining his aspirations to be recognized as the political leader of the European Union if he does not grant the necessary permissions, And Poland — as a country that feels directly threatened by Russia and intends to increase its influence in the EU and NATO — is no longer overwhelmed by the dynamic of backing down. But if he agrees, in addition to breaking with formal pacifist traditions, he worries about becoming embroiled in a process that would force him to become a major supplier of the material and, most importantly, jeopardize his future relations with Russia.
Given the circumstances, what is no longer useful to Berlin (and the rest of the Western allies, including Washington) is the argument that continuing to dodge Leopard 2 deliveries could lead to an escalation of the North-South conflict. part of Russia, which would have unbearable consequences for Germany. Olaf Scholz is understood to want Joe Biden to do the same, sending his Abrams 1 missile, thinking that by sharing the risk of Russian retaliation he will further ensure his Security under the Washington military (including nuclear weapons) umbrella. But since the beginning of the Russian invasion, it has become clear that Kyiv’s own allies have successively established supposedly impassable limits and then crossed them. Everything seems to indicate that they are not thinking about Russian retaliation, but about grading efforts according to their own calculations, with the aim of dragging Russia into Ukraine, reducing its military capabilities, without end.
Image: Leopard 2A5 main battle tank during training and combat demonstrations. Photo: © Bundeswehr/Modes. Bundeswehr photo (CC BY 2.0/Wikimedia Commons).