By Patial RC
“Even if there is no permission from Germany, Warsaw will make its own decisions”.
In my earlier article, The Leopard Plan: Era Of Tanks Nearly Over – OpEd, I had concluded “Will Germany be keen to supply Leopard tanks to Ukraine which are likely to meet the same fate as the Russian tanks. However, the German industry may financially gain but in the long run Germany is dependent on the Russian oil and with the approaching winters Germany may delay this ‘Leopard plan’ to post winters by then the Russian-Ukraine conflict may hopefully come to an end. US will try to convince Germany to commence The Leopard Plan and supply the Leopard tanks to Ukraine early to chase the Russian tanks. In March, Zelensky had asked for 88 Leopard tanks and 100 Marder-type IFVs from German industry. But Germany will have to weigh its own Energy Economic Interests intelligently in the long run. However, the end of this Russian-Ukraine Conflict is nowhere in sight.
Ukraine-Russia War has proved that the tank battle heydays are coming to an end and for both the countries the conflict has proved a waterloo for their armoured vehicles! According to an estimate Russia has lost more than 2,000 tanks in Ukraine so far and details of Ukraine losses are not available and the numbers appear to be exaggerated. Unmanned systems, drones top-attack weapons, UAVs, man-portable ATGMs like Javelin and European Next Generation Light Anti-tank Weapons (NLAW have taken the Russians by shock and have posed major challenges to the military tank’s survival. However, the US, UK and NATO allies continue to insist that Germany Leopard tanks be supplied to Ukraine!
Ramstein Air Base the Failed Meeting
US defence community believes that provision of additional military aid will tilt the balance in the war in favour of Ukraine which will be able to win back lost territory. Arms flow to Ukraine is ongoing from the US and others there is a division which was clearly visible with hesitation in Germany providing Leopard tanks or allowing these to be transferred by those countries which hold them in their inventory. On 21 January, 50 defence leaders who gathered at Ramstein Air Base in Germany failed to forge a consensus on provision of German made Leopard tanks to Ukraine. Dmitry Medvedev, the deputy head of the Russian Security Council, said ;US led meeting at the air base in Germany “left no doubt that our enemies will try to exhaust or better destroy us.”
Weapons are the way to Peace
NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg said “Weapons are the way to peace,” …. the only way to have a negotiated agreement is to convince President Putin that they will not win on the battlefield and he has to sit down and negotiate.”
Stoltenberg added that Ukraine’s battle has the full force of the 30-member NATO alliance because it is a “fight for democracy.” He said that “it is extremely important that President Putin doesn’t win this war, it will be a tragedy for Ukrainians, but also very dangerous for all of us.”
If weapons are considered to be the way to peace then peace is nowhere likely to be on the cards of NATO and the US in the case of the Russia- Russia conflict. Mao Zedong had said; “Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun”. Now in this Era NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg preaches ; “Weapons are the way to peace!”
US, UK and NATO Efforts Leopard tanks for Ukraine
The director of America’s top spy agency said Russia’s war in Ukraine will require the West to continue to provide security assistance packages. Latest package of US military equipment for Ukraine is valued at $2.5 billion.Senator Chris Coons; “If it requires our sending some Abrams tanks in order to unlock getting the Leopard tanks from Germany, from Poland, from other allies, I would support that.” Imagine the methods to which US can go to indirectly force Germany to fall in line.
Britain’s foreign minister James Cleverly, cleverly still wants an international deal to provide Ukraine with the German-made tanks that Kyiv says it needs in its fight against Russia but whose transfer needs Germany’s consent. Leopard tanks are seen by defense experts as the most suitable for Ukraine.
Western allies pledged billions of dollars in weapons for Ukraine last week, although they failed to persuade Germany to lift a veto on providing Leopard battle tanks, which are held by an array of NATO nations but whose supply to Ukraine would require Berlin’s approval.
Poland’s Coalition of Nations for Leopards
Poland ultimately wants Berlin and NATO allies to also send their own Leopards. The Leopard 2 tanks were specifically designed to compete with the Russian T-90 tanks, which are being used in the invasion. What makes them particularly attractive to Kyiv is that nearly two-thirds of all Leopards produced are still in Europe. So physically getting Leopards to the fight is relatively straightforward. That also makes maintenance and repair – vital aspects of any weapons system – easier too.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki didn’t specify when the request to Germany will be made. He said that Poland is building a coalition of nations ready to send Leopard 2 battle tanks to Ukraine. Poland needs the consent of Germany, which builds the tanks, to send them to a non-NATO country. But even if there is no permission from Germany, Warsaw will make its own decisions.
The Kremlin has reacted saying “that it was the Ukrainian people who would suffer if the West sends tanks to support Kyiv.” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said splits in Europe over whether to provide tanks to Kyiv showed there was “Nervousness” within the NATO military alliance. He added that all countries bear responsibility for the consequences of “Pumping” Ukraine with weapons.
Germany in a Catch-22 situation
Germany is now in a Catch-22 situation. Germany’s foreign minister Anna Baerbock has said she “would not stand in the way” of Poland if it were to send Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s Social Democrat party is traditionally skeptical of military involvements and wary of further escalation in the conflict in Ukraine. Germany appears to have cleverly been forced to bite the Leopard Plan partially by it not openly vetoing the export of the Leopard tank by other countries to Ukraine led by the Warsaw Lobby.However Germany has so far managed to remain away from direct export of its Leopard tanks to Ukraine. Germany will have to weigh its own Geopolitical and Economic interests intelligently in the long run.
In view of all the foregoing will Germany be keen to supply Leopard tanks to Ukraine which are likely to meet the same fate as the Russian tanks.However, German industry may financially gain but in the long run Germany is dependent on the Russian oil and with the approaching winters Germany may delay this ‘Leopard plan’ to post winters by then the Russian-Ukraine conflict may hopefully come to an end. US will try to convince Germany to commence The Leopard Plan and supply the Leopard tanks to Ukraine early to chase the Russian tanks. But Germany will have to weigh its own Energy Economic Interests intelligently in the long run.