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Nine NATO countries pledge to send heavy weapons to kyiv


Pressure mounts on Germany to unlock shipment of Leopard 2 tanks Ukraine's allies step on the accelerator with the delivery of heavy weapons to kyiv and increase pressure for Germany, which has to approve the export, to release the long-awaited German-made Leopard 2 tanks, which some countries have shown willingness to deliver to kyiv. A group of nine NATO member countries — Estonia, the United Kingdom, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Denmark, the Czech Republic, th

Ukraine's allies step on the accelerator with the delivery of heavy weapons to kyiv and increase pressure for Germany, which has to approve the export, to release the long-awaited German-made Leopard 2 tanks, which some countries have shown willingness to deliver to kyiv.

A group of nine NATO member countries — Estonia, the United Kingdom, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Denmark, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands and Slovakia — pledged on Thursday to make “unprecedented” new arms shipments to Ukraine to fight against the invasion of Russia, and has advanced that it will supply the kyiv army with tanks, heavy artillery, air defense, ammunition and infantry vehicles.

All of them agree, in a statement made after a meeting at the military base in Tapa (Estonia),

to urge other allies to contribute to that package at the key meeting that the countries of the Ukraine support group will hold this Friday at the Ramstein military base (Germany).

"The West must stand together and continue to support Ukraine with military aid," Estonian Defense Minister Hanno Pevkur told a news conference with his British counterpart Ben Wallace and other senior Western defense officials on Thursday.

Ukraine is confident that Ramstein will announce the start of a new phase of military support for kyiv, with top-tier combat weapons, specifically heavy tanks and precision missiles, a shipment the group of nine countries confirmed on Thursday.

“We pledge to collectively seek the delivery of an unprecedented set of donations including tanks, heavy artillery, air defense, ammunition and main battle tanks for the defense of Ukraine.

This assistance comes from our own national reserves," the statement said.

Meanwhile, the tone is rising and the messages of support for the shipment of heavy weapons to kyiv are increasing at the top of the community institutions.

Ukraine needs “right now” more NATO weapons.

That was the clear claim of Charles Michel, president of the European Council, before the Rada, the Ukrainian Parliament, during an unannounced visit.

“The coming weeks and months will be decisive,” Michel said Thursday.

"You need more, more air defense systems, more long-range missiles and more ammunition, and, above all, you need tanks, right now," stressed the community leader on the eve of the key Ramstein meeting and summarizing a growing position that puts more and more against the ropes to the German chancellor, Olaf Scholz,

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Last hour of the war in Ukraine

Military aid from the United States, the United Kingdom and EU members in NATO has been essential for Ukraine to withstand the Russian onslaught.

Artillery, armored vehicles for transporting infantry, anti-tank rocket launchers and anti-aircraft batteries provided from abroad have allowed the country to resist.

But the year of war is taking its toll on the arsenal of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

The ammunition deficit is alarming, especially since most of the Ukrainian weapons are of Soviet origin and they are no longer produced.

In addition, the armored vehicles with which the invaded country has fought to date, also Soviet, suffer enormous wear.

This is not only because of the year in service during the invasion, but because these tanks have been operating since 2014, since the Donbas war.

After several days of intense internal and external pressure for Chancellor Scholz to allow the Leopard 2 tanks to reach the Ukraine, Berlin is silent.

He has warned that he would only authorize it if the shipment is made from an alliance of European countries and if the United States also includes the transfer of its Abrams tanks.

Washington is not for the job.

The Abrams are not considered the best option for Ukraine due to their excessive complexity, the difficulty of their maintenance and the enormous amounts of fuel they consume.

Also, they are far away.

The Leopard 2, on the other hand, could come out of the arsenals of a dozen European countries close to Ukrainian territory.

US Assistant Secretary of Defense Colin Kahl

On the question of military support for kyiv, Scholz maintains the defensive and risk-averse character of German security policy in recent decades.

The chancellor fears an escalation of the conflict with the arrival of German tanks on the battlefield.

Scholz has implied on several occasions that it does not compare to the United Kingdom —which has announced the shipment of its Challenger tanks—, nor to France —which is now considering doing the same with its Leclercs, according to various media—, the countries with which it considers coordination essential, but with the United States.

On Wednesday, in Davos, he assured that Germany "will never act alone" but "with others, especially the United States."

Despite the pressure, no formal request for re-export has reached Berlin, a government spokesman confirmed on Thursday.

Among some partners, patience with Scholz is wearing thin.

Poland, which stated a few days ago that it wanted to send its Leopard 2, affirms that it is not going to wait any longer.

Its prime minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, has hinted that Warsaw could deliver the tanks without waiting for German approval, even though it is contractually required to have it.

In order to re-export weapons, permission from the manufacturing country is required.

“We will come to an agreement quickly or we will do the right thing ourselves,” he told Polsat News television.

Germany could get away with Ramstein by announcing that it will allow the re-export of Leopard 2 if there are formal requests.

Although sources in the allied countries are trying to mobilize a true coalition of arms shipments beyond Thursday's declaration in Estonia, at the Tapa military base,

Aware of the importance of the appointment in Ramstein, the Ukrainian president, Volodímir Zelenski, wanted to appeal directly to the Germans in an interview on ARD public television on Thursday night, in which he did not spare criticism of the Executive for its demands to the United States: “This is not the time for negotiations;

It's time to survive.

We have to survive."

"The West can spend another half year arguing, but people die here every day," he stressed, ending by exclaiming: "If you have Leopard tanks, give them to us!"

One year after the invasion launched by Russian President Vladimir Putin, a good part of Ukraine's allies show their willingness to intensify arms support for kyiv.

In addition to the announcement by the nine NATO countries, Sweden, which is awaiting formal integration into the Alliance, has also announced that it will send another major military package to Ukraine, including the Archer artillery system.

Attacks on European values

The invaded country needs long-range missiles, as has also been highlighted by Charles Michel, who wanted to symbolize the EU's support for Ukraine, a candidate country to join the community club since last July and in which two historic appointments are expected in February : a summit with the leaders of the community institutions and a meeting of the college of commissioners.

These meetings in a country at war represent a new challenge from the EU to Putin, who has always despised the European project.

The attack against Ukraine, stressed the community leader before the Rada, "is an attack against all Europeans, against our shared European values, against European security, against our joint European dream."

It is unlikely, however, that the Ramstein meeting will approve the shipment of the ATACMS long-range missiles.

US media such as




have advanced that there is a preliminary agreement for Washington to transfer the GLSDB to the Ukrainian Armed Forces, some extreme-precision missiles that have a range of about 150 kilometers —compared to 300 kilometers for the ATACMS.

The GLSDBs are also much less powerful than the HIMARS multi-launchers, also supplied by the United States, a weapon that has been instrumental in the Ukrainian offensives in the summer and fall of last year.

Ukraine does not have the potential to launch a new major offensive.

Russian defenses have been fortifying since the fall, and in the Donetsk province, Wagner's Russian mercenaries are even advancing.

Valeri Zaluzhni, commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, specified in December that to recover the territories lost during the invasion, he would only need 300 tanks, 700 armored infantry and 500 artillery pieces from NATO.

In Europe there are about 2,000 units of Leopard 2 tanks. kyiv is confident that a decisive step will be taken in this regard at the Ramstein meeting.

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Source: elparis

All news articles on 2023-01-20

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