The Leopards are coming. After months of saying “no,” Germany indicated over the weekend it would not stand in the way of Poland sending its Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine.
It’s a definite shift in policy. Up until now, both Germany and the United States were steadfast in their denial to send Ukraine main battle tanks because Russia called that a red line and the West feared Russian escalation.
“At this point, there are no good arguments why battle tanks cannot be provided,” Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics said. “The argument of escalation does not work, because Russia continues escalating.” Germany, along with most other NATO countries, now seem to agree.
On Monday, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said his government would officially ask Germany for permission to ship the Leopards to Ukraine. It’s expected permission will be quickly granted. Germany’s foreign minister said Sunday that Berlin would not stand in the way if Poland wanted to send them. Even if approval isn’t granted, Poland previously indicated it would still send the Leopards.
Ukraine said it needs hundreds of modern main battle tanks to push Russia out of its territory and reestablish its 1991 borders. France the the U.K. have already pledged to send some armor, but it wasn’t enough. With German approval, the opportunity could arise for a NATO effort to send loads of Leopards to Ukraine.
Poland has roughly 800 tanks in its inventory, and spent billions recently to buy more from the U.S. and South Korea. Poland has roughly 250 Leopard 2 tanks in its inventory right now, and there are hundreds more in NATO countries across Europe. Poland pledged to donate a dozen or so Leopards, and could easily up that number to a hundred or more without too heavily impacting its long-term inventory.
Finland, Spain, Denmark and the Netherlands also said they would send Leopards to Ukraine should Germany give the green light. Which means very soon, Ukraine will most likely have everything it needs to sustain its own Leopard 2 brigade.
The Netherlands said in addition to helping Ukraine win the ground war, it was also open to the idea of sending F-16 fighter jets. The Dutch foreign affairs minister said when it comes to delivering equipment to Ukraine, there are “no taboos.”
News of heavy weapons from the West being sent to Ukraine will no doubt be greeted with animosity in Moscow. Sunday, Vyacheslav Volodin, a Russian political leader, said weapons that threaten Russia’s territories will lead to global catastrophe, and make arguments against using nukes untenable.
With the Russian military bogged down in Eastern Ukraine, and the added prospect of hundreds of Western tanks arriving soon, Russia may be trying to drum up more support for the war at home.
Images circulating on Russian social media show missile defense systems being installed on top of the Russian Ministry of Defense building. Around 150 Russian soldiers also took part in military drills near Moscow. The Institute for the Study of War said the exercises are meant to generate inflammatory images that portray the war as more threatening to the Russian public.
Reuters contributed to this report.
THE LEOPARDS ARE COMING. AFTER MONTHS OF SAYING NO, GERMANY INDICATED OVER THE WEEKEND IT WOULD NOT STAND IN THE WAY OF POLAND SENDING ITS LEOPARD 2 TANKS TO UKRAINE.
IT’S A DEFINITE SHIFT IN POLICY. UP UNTIL NOW, BOTH GERMANY AND THE UNITED STATES WERE STEADFAST IN THEIR DENIAL TO SEND UKRAINE MAIN BATTLE TANKS, BECAUSE RUSSIA CALLED THAT A RED LINE, AND THE WEST FEARED RUSSIAN ESCALATION.
BUT THE LATVIAN FOREIGN MINISTER SAID THE ARGUMENT OF ESCALATION DOESN’T WORK, BECAUSE RUSSIA CONTINUES ESCALATING. GERMANY, ALONG WITH MOST OTHER NATO COUNTRIES, NOW SEEM TO AGREE.
ON MONDAY, THE POLISH PRIME MINISTER SAID HIS GOVERNMENT WOULD OFFICIALLY ASK GERMANY FOR PERMISSION TO SHIP THE LEOPARDS TO UKRAINE. IT’S EXPECTED PERMISSION WILL BE QUICKLY GRANTED, BUT POLAND SAID IT WOULD SEND TANKS WITH OR WITHOUT IT.
UKRAINE SAID IT NEEDS 100s OF TANKS TO PUSH RUSSIA OUT OF ITS TERRITORY AND REESTABLISH ITS 1991 BORDERS. WITH GERMAN APPROVAL, THE FLOODGATES COULD OPEN FOR A NATO EFFORT TO SEND LOADS OF LEOPARDS TO UKRAINE.
POLAND HAS ROUGHLY 250 LEOPARD 2s IN ITS INVENTORY RIGHT NOW, AND THERE ARE HUNDREDS MORE IN COUNTRIES ACROSS EUROPE. POLAND PLEDGED TO DONATE A DOZEN OR SO LEOPARDs, AND COULD EASILY UP THAT NUMBER TO A HUNDRED OR MORE WITHOUT TOO HEAVILY IMPACTING ITS LONG-TERM INVENTORY.
FINLAND, SPAIN, DENMARK AND THE NETHERLANDS ALSO SAID THEY WOULD SEND UKRAINE LEOPARDS SHOULD GERMANY GIVE THE GREEN LIGHT. WHICH MEANS VERY SOON, UKRAINE WILL MOST LIKELY HAVE EVERYTHING IT NEEDS TO SUSTAIN ITS OWN LEOPARD 2 BRIGADE.
THE NETHERLANDS SAID IN ADDITION TO HELPING UKRAINE WIN THE GROUND WAR, IT WAS ALSO OPEN TO THE IDEA OF SENDING F-16 FIGHTER JETS. THE DUTCH FOREIGN AFFAIRS MINISTER SAID WHEN IT COMES TO DELIVERING EQUIPMENT TO UKRAINE, THERE ARE NO TABOOS
NEWS OF HEAVY WEAPONS FROM THE WEST BEING SENT TO UKRAINE WILL NO DOUBT BE GREETED WITH ANIMOSITY IN MOSCOW. ON SUNDAY, A RUSSIAN POLITICAL LEADER SAID WEAPONS THAT THREATEN RUSSIA’S TERRITORIES WILL LEAD TO GLOBAL CATASTROPHE, AND MAKE ARGUMENTS AGAINST USING NUKES UNTENABLE.
WITH THE RUSSIAN MILITARY BOGGED DOWN IN EASTERN UKRAINE, AND THE ADDED PROSPECT OF HUNDREDS OF WESTERN TANKS ARRIVING SOON, RUSSIA MAY BE TRYING TO DRUM UP MORE SUPPORT FOR THE WAR AT HOME.
IMAGES CIRCULATING ON RUSSIAN SOCIAL MEDIA SHOW MISSILE DEFENSE SYSTEMS BEING INSTALLED ON TOP OF THE RUSSIAN MINISTRY OF DEFENSE BUILDING. AROUND 150 RUSSIAN SOLDIERS ALSO TOOK PART IN MILITARY DRILLS NEAR MOSCOW.
THE INSTITUTE FOR THE STUDY OF WAR SAYS THE EXERCISES ARE MEANT TO GENERATE INFLAMMATORY IMAGES THAT PORTRAY THE WAR AS MORE THREATENING TO THE RUSSIAN PUBLIC.
IN A FEW WEEKS, THE WORLD WILL MARK 1-YEAR SINCE VLADAMIR PUTIN LAUNCHED HIS WAR IN UKRAINE. WE’VE BEEN FOLLOWING THE WAR FROM THE BEGINNING AT STRAIGHT ARROW NEWS, AND YOU CAN FIND THOSE STORIES AT STRAIGHT ARROW NEWS DOT COM…WHERE WE DELIVER UNBIASED, STRAIGHT FACTS.