February 5, 2023

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Ukraine and Ramstein arms Kyiv for a counterattack but Berlin denies World Tanks

The eighth meeting of the League of Ukraine at the US air base in Ramstein, Germany shows a two-speed alliance. Indeed, on the one hand, There is a group of countries ready to run — led by the United Kingdom and Poland — and supplying weapons hitherto considered taboo to Kyiv, such as tanks and even F-16 fighters. On the other hand, there are those who are retreating, such as Germany. Berlin, despite pre-summit pressure, It did not give the green light to export the Leopard 2sWhich is what Kyiv demands.

However, the United States has no interest in emphasizing the differences, if anything underlining the “unity and determination” of the alliance, while noting that this “strong” aid package would put Ukraine in a position to launch a “spring counteroffensive”.

At Ramstein – according to the count of the US Army Chief of Staff General Mark Milley – “53 allies and partners” met and each made his contribution. A few hours before the start of the summit, which for the first time hosted a video address by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, nine European countries in a joint statement established the “Tallinn Pact” with a commitment toTo give Ukraine an “unprecedented” set of meansIncluding tanks, heavy artillery, air defense, ammunition and infantry fighting vehicles.

The group – which, in addition to Great Britain and Poland, also includes Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Denmark, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands and Slovakia – then promised to “urge” other allies and partners “to follow suit.” Moral persuasion But in Rammstein collapsed on the German Nen. “We talked about the possibility of handing over the Panthers,” said the new German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius, and “there are good reasons against that.” “But there is no single opinion on this matter: the feeling that there is an alliance and Germany is an obstacle is wrong,” he stressed. However, Berlin promised to supply them with weapons and other equipment at a value 1 billion euros in spring.

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The hesitation does not come from “fear” – this is Kyiv’s accusation – but from a sense of “responsibility for Germany and Europe”. This is the potential military escalation that the Kremlin threatens every other day, too. Indeed, Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said the West was “deceiving itself” if it believed Ukraine could really win the war. And the delivery of tanks would only increase the risk of direct NATO involvement.

But the game did not end there. Zelensky He thanked the Allies for the new weapons but stressed it out There are “no alternatives” to sending tanks Warsaw swore that 15 countries were ready to break the delay and that the “coalition building” on the Panthers “will end in success”. “We don’t have time. Time is crucial. We must move quickly. We need to defend and fight. Every weapon has its importance,” he emphasized in a video intervention.

Zelensky’s appeal to Rammstein: send us tanks to win



However, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin III advised against focusing too much on “one vehicle” – tanks specifically – and said he was convinced thatThe $2.5 billion package decided by WashingtonIt would be sufficient, especially with the assistance decided by the other Allies (“if used appropriately”) to give Kyiv an advantageous position on the battlefield for the “recapture of conquered territories”. Here, Millie is perhaps more pragmatic on this point: It is “difficult,” though not “impossible,” that Ukraine could “expel all Russian forces from its territory” within 2023, if anything, “substantial” progress. Those who then asked him whether the US veto on attacks against Crimea with US weapons had already been overturned found themselves faced with no comment: “We don’t discuss rules of engagement publicly.”

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Austin still seemed to charge, as usual. “The time has come not to give up, we will not be late and we will not hesitate to help Ukraine: this is a decisive moment for Kiev and for the whole world, it is about the future that we want to give to our children and grandchildren.”

In the evening, Washington designated the Russian private military company Wagner a transnational criminal organization (an estimated fifty thousand people in Ukraine), announcing next week the imposition of more sanctions against the mercenary company and its support network on various continents.

For Italy, the Minister of Defense participated in the summit Guido Crocitowhich ensured support for Ukraine. “We need to move from words to action as quickly as possible.” The Minister of Defense said so Guido Crocito, today in Ramstein. The minister explained that Each country will contribute by providing military materials (anti-missile batteries and ground vehicles). To assist the Ukrainian defense in dealing with the escalating conflict that is likely to occur in the coming months. Civilian items such as generators, tents and clothing will also be sent.

“Every day is important to solve the current crisis. We expect an escalation of the war with a massive increase in attacks in the coming weeks By land, they will be added to the missiles brought by Russia in the past period,” Crocito said, recalling that the Russians have trained more than 300,000 new recruits.

Crocito confirmed that Italy would do its part, during an interview on the sidelines of the Ramstein Summit with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. “We will not leave you alone in the face of cowardly aggression. “We will remain on the side of the Ukrainian people in defense of democracy and freedom,” the minister told his Ukrainian colleague, Oleksiy Reznikov.