Germany’s announcement that Leopard 2 tanks will be sent to Ukraine brings Russia’s war to a “new level of confrontation,” a Russian ambassador said Wednesday.
In a statement published on the website of the Russian Embassy in Berlin, Russian Ambassador to Germany Sergey Nechaev said that Germany’s decision was “extremely dangerous” and “contradicts” statements from German politicians about the country’s unwillingness to be drawn into the Ukraine conflict.
“Unfortunately, this happens over and over again,” Nechaev said. “Once again, we are convinced that Germany, like its closest allies, is not interested in a diplomatic solution to the Ukrainian crisis, it is set up for its permanent escalation and unlimited pumping of the Kyiv regime with more and more deadly weapons. ‘Red lines’ are a thing of the past.”
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced Wednesday that Germany would provide 14 Leopard 2 A6 tanks to Ukraine, and other countries also in possession of the German-made tanks would be permitted to send them to Ukraine as well. This was after Poland, which has been seeking to provide Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, officially requested Germany’s consent on Tuesday to send them to the wartorn country.
The speaker of the lower house of Russia’s parliament warned Sunday that nations providing Ukraine with more powerful weapons could cause a “global tragedy that would destroy their countries,” according to the Associated Press. Russian state media has railed against Germany over its decision to deliver the tanks.
Ukraine may soon get another upgrade in its tank stocks as reports indicate that U.S. President Joe Biden could announce a decision as early as Wednesday to supply Ukraine with up to 30 M1A2 Abrams tanks. Newsweek has not independently confirmed any Biden administration plans to send the Abrams tanks, but Biden is scheduled to deliver remarks on “continued support for Ukraine” Wednesday afternoon.
The most modern tanks like the Leopard 2 and Abrams are several generations ahead of the Soviet-era Russian tanks that Ukraine has been using in the war up until now, David Silbey, associate professor of history at Cornell University and director of teaching and learning at Cornell in Washington, told Newsweek.
“This newer generation of tanks have much better armor and defensive systems, much more powerful main weapons, and much better sensor suites, which allows them to fire at much longer range.
Silbey added that the “drawback” of the more modern tanks is “they are heavy and logistics-intensive, needing a lot of fuel and maintenance.” This is less so the case for the Leopard tanks than it is for the Abrams, he said.
Newsweek reached out to the Kremlin and Germany’s Defense Ministry for comment.