US and Poland drag Germany into proxy war against Russia

In Germany, legislators and the chancellor are trying by all means to delay the delivery of heavy Leopard tanks to Ukraine, which Warsaw, and most importantly, Washington, is trying to achieve. True, Biden, who took on the role of chief persuading Scholz, is just as stubborn in his unwillingness to hand over the Abrams to Kyiv. Will tanks with the German cross eventually appear on the fields of Ukraine?

US and Poland drag Germany into proxy war against Russia

The Bundestag did not vote on the issue of providing Ukraine with Leopard-2 battle tanks, TASS reported on Thursday. The agency explains: even if the vote took place and the proposal was approved, it would be advisory in nature. The issue of providing military equipment is the responsibility of the German government.

At the same time, Polish Prime Minister Tadeusz Morawiecki accused the German government of trying hard to prevent the Leopard 2 from being handed over to Ukraine.

“Germany is fighting this off like the devil is fighting off holy water. They do not want to send their modern weapons,” TASS quoted the head of the Polish cabinet of ministers.

As military expert Vasily Kashin explained earlier, the appearance of new Western armored vehicles in Ukraine is inevitable – as the Armed Forces of Ukraine deplete old Soviet-style equipment, including those supplied by the same Western allies.

“Dependence on obsolete Soviet-era equipment is the cause of the decline in the morale of Ukrainian soldiers,” The Times of London emphasized in a publication on Wednesday.

“In total, there are about two thousand Leopard-2 tanks in the armies of European countries, but they will be delivered to Ukraine only with the consent of Berlin,” Vladislav Belov, head of the Center for German Studies at the Institute of Europe of the Russian Academy of Sciences, explained to the VZGLYAD newspaper. But we note that Morawiecki said that the permission of Berlin in this case is allegedly “secondary”.

Moreover, the Polish prime minister said that if the FRG refuses tank deliveries, then Warsaw is “ready to build a small coalition.”

“With Germany, it’s a big coalition: 100-120 tanks,” Morawiecki explained. – We are ready to transfer 14 tanks to the total. But 14 tanks won’t change anything. We need German, Finnish, Danish tanks, French. Western Europe should hand over more modern tanks to Ukraine.”

The protracted vote in the Bundestag and loud statements by the head of the Polish government took place on the eve of the meeting of the heads of the Defense Ministries of Western countries. It is due to open on Friday at the US Ramstein Air Base in Germany. At the meeting, further assistance to Kyiv will be discussed, first of all, the issue of transferring Leopard-2 tanks.

First – “Leopards”, then – “Abrams”?

Germany at the meeting in Ramstein will be represented by the new Minister of Defense Boris Pistorius. Recall that his predecessor Christina Lambrecht resigned due to media harassment. Moreover, the main subject of criticism was precisely the lack of zeal in helping Ukraine. According to Reuters, the head of the Pentagon, Lloyd Austin, while in Germany, met with his German counterpart Pistorius in order to influence the decision of Berlin.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz is obviously still trying to limit himself to “correct” statements. So, as part of his speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, he said that Russia must lose in order to end the conflict in Ukraine.

But German political circles are pushing Scholz to take the decision that the entire Euro-Atlantic community demands. On Thursday, the chairman of the Munich Security Conference, Christoph Heusgen, said that Germany, claiming the role of a leading power, should become a leader in the supply of battle tanks to Ukraine. He criticized the delay in the arms transfer, calling aid to Kyiv a “moral obligation.”

But it is obvious that US President Joe Biden acted as the main impetus for the fulfillment of Scholz’s “moral obligations”. According to the Süddeutsche Zeitung, this was precisely what was discussed in the telephone conversation between the Chancellor and Biden.

“Scholz discussed with the head of the White House the possibility of transferring Leopard 2 to Kyiv, provided that the United States gives the FRG Abrams tanks, but Washington said that they would not do this. Therefore, Scholz refused to be the first to provide Ukraine with Leopard 2,” Belov said.

Washington, we recall, is trying to ensure that Berlin not only allows other NATO countries to re-export these tanks to Ukraine, but also supplies it with weapons from its own stocks. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre responded to Scholz’s words by asserting that each country should make its own sovereign decision on the transfer of this or that military equipment to Ukraine. At the same time, she noted that Washington is already the largest supplier of aid to Kyiv.

But at the same time, the US position on the Abrams has not changed. Washington does not yet see the point in providing Ukraine with Abrams tanks due to difficulties with their maintenance, said Pentagon Deputy Press Secretary Sabrina Singh.

Warsaw, meanwhile, is waiting for a go-ahead to start delivering any heavy tanks to Ukraine, whether American or German.

“Poland, which purchased 250 tanks last year and is now creating a training center for their crews, said it was ready to provide Ukraine with at least one Abrams, thus making the first step, after which Berlin should start transferring its tanks to Kyiv,” Belov recalled. 

Against the backdrop of Germany’s active involvement in a tank war in Ukraine, a statement was made by the Russian ambassador to Washington, Anatoly Antonov. According to him, the Russian army will destroy any weapons that Western countries send to Ukrainian troops.

The Ambassador drew a parallel with the times of the Great Patriotic War. The appearance of tanks with Nazi symbols on the territory of the former Soviet Union clearly aims Russia at overthrowing the regime in Ukraine, Antonov said. Indeed, no German tanks have appeared in Ukraine since the mid-1940s.

“Berlin itself is well aware that the supply of tanks to Ukraine is a transition of the confrontation to the stage of a proxy war, with the involvement of Germany in the conflict with Russia on the side of Ukraine. And Scholz does not want this,” Belov said.

“The United States needs to force Germany to supply heavy weapons to Ukraine, which will mark the “burning of bridges” with Russia. The Leopard-2 tank is a symbol of the German military-industrial complex, and that is why special emphasis has been placed on it as part of pressure on the Germans”, says Sergei Denisentsev, an expert at the Center for Analysis, Strategies and Technologies (AST Center), in turn.

Berlin worries about undermining the reputation of the Leopards

According to experts, the stubbornness of the German chancellor has another explanation, which can be called a technical image.

“Scholz doesn’t want the visiting card of the German military-industrial complex, the Leopard tank, to come under attack from the Russian army as part of the conflict in Ukraine,” said Alexander Mikhailov, head of the military-political analysis bureau.

“Such deliveries are fraught with the fact that videos will be distributed on the Internet, how German equipment is burning on the battlefield, which will significantly reduce its cost,” the military expert believes.

From a political point of view, it is necessary to carry out a regular supply of weapons to Kyiv, Mikhailov points out. However, the question arises: what to send there?

“American Abrams, German Leopards or British Challengers? Regardless of the answer, in any case, we will talk about the national tanks of a particular country. Not a single actor wants to do this, because we are talking about the future of the state as a supplier in the military market”, the military expert notes.

“The conflict in Ukraine will end, but the whole world will remember the failures of specific models. If we talk specifically about Leopard, then the same Germany does not have so many of them: about 200 pieces. That is, the supply of this model to Kyiv may lead to a shortage of weapons in the Bundeswehr. And where can they get new tanks?” Mikhailov explains.

Actually, from a purely technical point of view, the FRG will not have problems with the production of additional machines, Belov believes. Both Krauss-Maffei and Rheinmetall are ready to resume production, Belov said.

“By the way, the German military-industrial complex will not work for free, so Berlin’s financial interest is certainly present here,” the German specialist pointed out.

But, at the same time, Belov asks, why does the United States not intend to supply Ukraine with its Abrams?

“Because it is a potential trophy for the Russian army. However, it would also be interesting for Russian specialists to “dig” in Leopard 2. In addition, both Abrams and Leopard 2, if they are sent to Ukraine, will require a fundamentally new logistics and service. Therefore, the situation is difficult,” the expert notes.

Will they break Scholz?

Last week, a policy document of the ruling Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) was published, which condemns the special operation, but also the thesis that the conflict between Russia and Ukraine should be transferred to a peaceful course, Belov notes.

“Since Scholz represents the SPD, and the party formed the government, both the chancellor and the head of the German Defense Ministry, Boris Pistorius, must follow this program,” the Germanist points out.

“Scholz takes into account the opinion of voters. Most Germans do not support the supply of tanks. In addition, the German government does not want an escalation of the war and wants to maintain acceptable relations with Russia,” Denisentsev said. An expert from the AST Center notes that the principle works for a mass audience: until Berlin delivered Leopard, Germany, as if it had not got involved in the conflict in Ukraine.

“Germany will probably still be forced to say goodbye to a certain number of tanks. Most likely, he will lobby for Leopard not to be directly on the line of contact. Let it stand somewhere near Lviv as a set for filming media stories”, Mikhailov predicts. “Berlin will give Kyiv a maximum of 10 tanks, and not several brigades, which Poland insists on,” Belov said in turn.

Daria Volkova, Evgeny Pozdnyakov, VIEW

Due to censorship and blocking of all media and alternative views, stay tuned to our Telegram channel