Germany takes a turn and decides to supply tanks to Ukraine


The United States made it clear yesterday that it expects greater involvement of European countries in military support for Ukraine, during a conference held at its Ramstein military base in Germany, the base that is the headquarters of its air force in Europe. Convened by the US Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin, defense ministers and chiefs of staff of 40 allied countries agreed to reinforce the supply of weapons to the invaded nation, without disclosing details. “Ukraine clearly believes it can win, and that’s what we all believe here,” Austin said in the morning as he opened work. Long-term goal, beyond helping Ukraine win the war: “We want to see Russia weakened to the point where it can no longer do the same kinds of things as the invasion of Ukraine,” Austin said.

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Martina Andres

After two months of war since the beginning of the Russian invasion on February 24, the Ukrainian army fights and resists, but Kyiv demands heavy artillery and armored vehicles to face Vladimir Putin’s attempt to occupy the south and east of the country . In this second phase of a conflict that is announced to be prolonged, the question of heavy weapons is crucial, specifically tanks and anti-aircraft defense, since the Russians are crushing them from the air with long-range bombardments with the aim of pushing back the most of the Ukrainian forces in order to later send tanks and infantry to occupy the territory.

Countries on the eastern flank of NATO such as Poland and Slovakia have already sent this type of weaponry, and the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, insists that his army needs more. Kyiv is calling for heavy weapons to try to repel Russian forces in the country’s vast southern and eastern plains, while the Russian-made war materiel with which Ukrainian soldiers have been trained is running short.

“We want to see Russia weakened” so that it cannot repeat aggression, said the American Austin

The pressure had already become unsustainable for countries like the reluctant Germany, where the Social Democratic chancellor, Olaf Scholz, was reluctant to turn around despite the fact that his own coalition partners, environmentalists and liberals, had long called for the sending of tanks to Ukraine, with the foreign minister, the green Annalena Baerbock as the main voice. Yesterday in the context of the conference in Ramstein, the Minister of Defense, also a Social Democrat Christine Lambrecht, stated that Germany will allow the sale to Ukraine of fifty Gepard tanks, equipped with anti-aircraft artillery that can also be used against ground targets. The tanks belong to the stocks of the Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) consortium. After the conference, the American Austin greeted this supply as “significant”.

The meeting at the US base – which is located in the land of Rhineland-Palatinate, in western Germany – was held preceded by a warning from the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, who on Monday night, asked in an interview on Russian state television about the possibility of a third world war and a nuclear escalation, he had spoken of “real danger”. The Secretary of Defense of the United States, Lloyd Austin, questioned in this regard, replied that “speculating on nuclear war does not help and is dangerous.”

Among the 40 participating countries were European allies of the United States, but also countries geographically further away, such as Australia and Japan, which fear that a Russian victory in Ukraine would set a precedent and encourage China’s territorial ambitions. Finland and Sweden were also represented, which after decades of neutrality now want to join NATO. For Spain, the JEMAD, Admiral General Teodoro López Calderón, participated.

The US base in Ramstein (Germany) hosted a meeting of 40 allied countries on weapons for Kyiv

“The meeting will become a monthly contact group on the defense of Ukraine,” Austin said at a brief afternoon news conference. Lloyd Austin and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken paid a brief visit to Kyiv on Sunday, the first high-level US visit since the outbreak of the war, during which they met for about three hours with Ukrainian President Zelenskiy. .

“Ukraine needs our help to win today and will continue to need our help when the war is over,” Austin said at the start of the conference. “As we see this morning, nations around the world are united in our resolve to support Ukraine in its fight against Russian imperial aggression,” he added. The West hopes that the Ukrainian military, thus equipped with better anti-aircraft defenses, attack drones and information provided by Western intelligence services, can destroy much of the Russian firepower.

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