February 5, 2023

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Ukraine and Kiev want hundreds of tanks. Moscow conjures up the world – global war

The push and pull of sending the Leopard 2 to Kyiv continues and flows at the Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels, where the EU’s 27 diplomatic chiefs met for the first meeting of 2023.

Ukrainian Minister Dmytro Kuleba, supported above all by Poland, repeated the position of the past few days: give us tanks. More tellingly, on Telegram, the head of the presidential office, Andriy Yermak, said: “We need hundreds of tanks, not ten or twenty.” Because The goal is to recover all occupied territories, including Crimea.

Moscow knows this, and therefore raises the bar by taking advantage of the dangers of a “world war”, thus hoping to influence the decisions of Berlin, which is very sensitive to certain issues. The Kremlin reiterated that whoever supplies the tanks will have to take responsibility. The foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, noted that the war between Russia and the West was now no longer a “hybrid” but “almost real”. Former great Dmitry Medvedev, who has reinvented himself as a super-hawk since the conflict erupted, in his usual apocalyptic style topped it off: “The world is approaching the threat of World War III in the face of aggressive preparations against Russia”.

Of course, because the occupied territories of Ukraine, after the pseudo-referendum, in the eyes of Moscow are de jure part of Russia, and therefore a counterattack by Kyiv would be regarded as a violation of national borders. here because Germany is very careful about the Panzers. “It is a complex issue and it is important that we talk to each other confidentially, it takes time,” said German government spokesman Steffen Hebbestreit, stressing that it is better to “think carefully before taking steps that may later cause bitter repentance.”

But someone is pressing. It’s a lot. Like Warsaw. Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki announced that he would formally ask Germany for permission to hand over part of the Panthers to Ukraine, with German Foreign Minister Analina Baerbock hinting that she wanted permission granted. But that was yesterday in Paris. Arriving at the Council, in Brussels, she showed herself to be more cautious, raising the need for “joint interventions by international partners”. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg will go to Berlin tomorrow to meet with the new Defense Minister Boris Pistorius and obviously the issue will be discussed. Also because Warsaw threatens to want to go ahead anyway if Germany will oppose, forming a small coalition of the willing (and Leopard bearers).

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In short, there is a risk of a serious split in the harmony between the NATO allies and all this can only arouse fears in both Brussels and Washington (Minister Anthony Tajani For his part, he made it clear that Italy is not part of this discussion and is focused on the delivery of air defense systems).

High Representative for Foreign Policy of the European Union, Joseph BurrellHe emphasized that there are different positions within the European Union regarding sending tanks to Ukraine and pointed out that Germany, even today, has reiterated its determination not to stand in the way. “But I would advise not to focus too much on this discussion about tanks,” Borrell said. Rammstein showed the obvious will of the partners to want to help Ukraine militarily and the results were very good in terms of the means available.

For its part, the European Union has given political approval to a new 500 million euro tranche of military aid Through the European Peace Facility (EPF) and another 45 million to train Ukrainian soldiers through the mission, which began last year. But interest is very high because Kyiv is pressing. “The last half-step still has to be taken: we already have the British challengers, we have heard that France is evaluating the supply of Leclercs and I have no doubt that we are with the cheetahs in the final stretch,” Koleba said.