West is resolved to deliver heavy tanks to Ukraine

After having exposed its reluctance, Germany should send a limited number of Leopard 2 tanks to kyiv, while Washington is preparing to formalize the delivery of around thirty Abrams tanks.

by Thomas WIEDER (Berlin, correspondent), Piotr Smolar (Washington, Correspondent) and Cédric Pietrapunga

After weeks of waltz-hesitation, the allies of Ukraine have finally decided: several dozen Western fights will be sent in the coming months to the kyiv forces, to allow them to resist the assaults of the Russian troops , and above all resume the initiative in the spring, when the weather conditions are favorable to new mechanized maneuvers. The announcement was to be made, Wednesday, January 25, by the United States and Germany, which managed to agree on a coalition, despite important initial differences.

According to several American media, confirmed by European sources, Washington was to formalize Wednesday the delivery of around thirty Abrams tanks of M1 model. This announcement would constitute a turn in the American position and a disavowal for the Pentagon. According to the Wall Street Journal, US President Joe Biden would have made this decision following a telephone interview on January 17 with the German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. This equipment should be acquired through a specific security assistance program in Ukraine, without drawing from current States of the United States.

For its part, Germany should deliver a limited number of Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine and, above all, authorize other countries which have to do the same, notably Poland. According to the weekly Der Spiegel, who revealed the information at the end of the day on Tuesday, this decision could be officially announced on Wednesday by Olaf Scholz, during an intervention in front of the Bundestag at midday. According to German magazine, Berlin intends to send at least fourteen Leopard 2 tanks taken from the Bundeswehr stocks, which has around 320 in total, but only 200 of which would be operational.

Until the past few days, the United States had however been reluctant to send heavy armored vehicles to Ukraine. Difficult to maneuver, complicated to maintain, gourmet in fuel, the Abrams would be a poisoned gift for the forces of kyiv, explained Colin Kahl, number three of the Pentagon, on the return from a trip to Ukraine on January 18. “The abrams chariot is not more difficult to use than a leopard or a leclerc, but its turbine consumes twice as much than the diesel engines of its competitors, which requires much greater supply logistics,” confirms Marc Chassillan , engineer and specialist in terrestrial armament.

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/Media reports cited above.