It seems that the pressure to corner Russia in the war with Ukraine could about Olaf Schölz.
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The head of the German government announced last Wednesday that his country will send a tank company Leopard 2A6one of the most modern versions of its heavy tank, to the Ukrainian troops fighting in the east against the Russian occupation.
And it is that the German decision was essential so that other European countries (Poland, Finland, Spain, Greece, Czech Republic) could give the green light to send their Leopard 2 tanks (A4 or A6), since they are German-made and for re -export needed a permit from Berlin, this being the most common tank in European arsenals.
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The Leopard 2 will not go alone. To the already announced British Challenger 2 will be added, according to Washington, some 30 American Abrams, which are equivalent to the German Leopard 2.
Although the US government had reiterated on several occasions that it would not send the Abrams because they are expensive, difficult to maintain and consume much more fuel than the Leopard 2, which are already very close to Ukraine in arsenals in Germany, Finland or Poland, Washington relented because Berlin repeated several times in the last days that if the United States did not send heavy tanks, Germany would not send either.
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Russian aggression can and must only be stopped with the right weapons
Now all eyes are on the French president Emmanuel Macron, who for now has not said anything of their Leclerc, equivalent to the Leopard 2 and the Abrams.
The pressure on Scholz had come from all corners of European diplomacy. On Monday, the European chancellor, Josep Borrell, and the president of the European Council, Charles Michel, (speaking on behalf of the 27 governments of the bloc) called for the tanks.
On Tuesday he did it in Berlin, together with the newly appointed Defense Minister, Boris Pistorius, the NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, who recalled that beyond the tanks, Germany is one of the main arms contributors and in financial aid for Ukraine.
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The shipment of this type of heavy weapons, which kyiv desperately requested, was also discussed in depth last Friday at a summit of about fifty countries at the US base in Ramstein, in Germany.
Over there, the Pentagon brought together all the countries that in one way or another help the Ukrainian government. It was expected that Berlin would already then announce the shipment of the tanks, but it was made to wait almost a week.
change of strategy
When Russia attacked Ukraine on February 24, 2022, it seemed totally unfeasible for the Europeans to send weapons. Shortly thereafter they began sending out personal weapons and the first personal rocket launchers capable of attacking tanks or helicopters.
Before summer (May), the first artillery pieces began to arrive, already numbering in the hundreds. And now, this new step seems to be the penultimate before they decide to send helicopters, long-range missiles and fighter jets.
(Also read: Russia responds to US and European tank shipments with shelling in Ukraine)
Every Russian missile against our cities, every Iranian drone used by terrorists is an argument why we need more weapons.
There is no doubt that Ukraine will be able to count on the first shipments in a few weeks because diplomatic sources assure that the training of its tankers has already begun in Poland.
The Challengers, the Abrams and especially the Leopard 2 (there are almost 2,000 in European arsenals) They are considered as “heavy tanks” intended for high intensity battles, not for moving troops.
They are tanks that usually weigh between 50 and 70 tons, that move between 60 and 80 kilometers per hour and whose guns, between 105 and 125 millimeters in caliber, They have a firing range of up to five kilometers and can carry up to 50 howitzers. They also carry heavy machine guns with ammunition for thousands of shots.
(Continue reading: The United States announces that it will send 31 Abrams tanks to Ukraine)
This added to the fact that the Abrams, Leopards 2, Challenger 2 or Leclerc are equipped with thermal cameras and modern electronic warfare systems.
In that sense, are the right weapons when you want to advance in a theater of military operations where the enemy force is already entrenched.
In addition to these British, German and American tanks, several dozen French Leclercs are also expected to be transferred to Ukraine in Europe.
Another advantage of this type of combat tanks is that they are at the same time much more sophisticated weapons than Soviet-made tanks. Produced between the 1960s and 1980s, the tanks were left in the arsenals of the Eastern European countries that became members of the Warsaw Pact that Moscow controlled after World War II.
The weapons that remained in the hands of NATO and the European Union, and that were ceded by countries such as the Czech Republic or Poland, they have served to match the Russians, but are insufficient to surpass them.
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Only weapons neutralize terrorists
The Leopard 2 and Abrams are superior to their Russian counterparts, faster and capable of firing farther, on the move, even at night, so they can engage Russian tanks without exposing themselves to their fire.
Hence, their job will be to destroy the Russian tanks and serve as an outpost to pass over the Russian trenches because the war has become a classic scenario of fortifications and trenches.
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Experts say that these tanks, still developed in the midst of the Cold War, were designed precisely for the use that Ukraine is going to give them: battles against Russian tanks on the plains of Europe, the great fear of the NATO countries for decades.
And it is that the lands of Donbas will not be the first to star in a confrontation between russian and western tanks.
There was already one between American Abrams tanks and Russian T-72s when in 1990, during the First Gulf War, the Americans first faced off against Russian tanks bought by Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. So, the Abrams were superior.
Other types of armored
Western powers are already sending “light armor” as well. They are the American Bradley, the German Marder or the French AMX-10 RC.
They weigh between 20 and 30 tons and support heavy tanks for example loading soldiers or ammunition for them. They are called “light” because they have thinner armor, making them unable to withstand large caliber fire, but they are much more mobile.
These can be used in groups or individually to transport troops in battle scenes or as reconnaissance vehicles. But they also work in conjunction with heavy tanks to replace their crews or supply them with additional ammunition.
(Keep reading: Ukraine: Will the course of the war change after the arrival of tanks from the West?)
We are facing an escalation of tensions, including the supply of tanks and the ongoing discussions about the air component
They were not designed for direct combat against tanks, but some, like the French AMX-10 RC, have a 105mm gun and two large-caliber machine guns, so they can hold their own in battle.
The Marders and Bradleys they are even lighter and their essential job is to move troops into battle and attack minor targets for heavy tanks, as they did in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Announcements from different governments suggest that in the coming months Ukraine will receive about a hundred heavy tanks and dozens of light tanks. Enough so that towards the end of March it can be launched on the Russian lines.
With the heavy tanks will go a long panoply of other weapons that are necessary for them to be able to act effectively in a battle scenario. In addition to light tanks, fuel transport vehicles or self-propelled and remotely guided anti-mine vehicles are needed.
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a regular war
Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelenski assured that Ukraine adds the help of 12 allied countries in what he called the “tank coalition.” And it is that the president remains determined to fight the Russians on the ground.
Following the Russian missile attack on Thursday in response to Western aid and that left at least 11 deadZelensky assured that thanks to the air defense systems provided to Ukraine, together with the professionalism of its fighters, they managed to shoot down “most of the Russian missiles and Shared”.
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“Russian aggression can and must only be stopped with the right weapons”. “Every Russian missile against our cities, every Iranian drone used by terrorists is an argument why we need more weapons. Only weapons neutralize terrorists,” Zelensky added, insisting that the more Russia loses in the battle for Donbas, “the lower its overall potential will be.”
Quite the opposite of what the Kremlin thinks, which assured on Friday that the discussions about sending combat planes to Ukraine “increase the degree of tension.”
“We are facing an escalation of tensions, including by the supply of tanks and the ongoing discussions on the air component,” Russian spokesman Dmitri Peskov said.
According to Moscow, the “key” to the Ukrainian conflict is “largely” in Washington. “But we see that the current tenant of the White House does not want to use it and chooses to continue stuffing Ukraine with weapons,” Peskov stressed.
IDAFE MARTIN PEREZ
For the time
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