West News Wire: As Russia issued covert threats that the war could spread to Europe, the United States and its allies were unable to come to an agreement on providing Ukraine the desired German combat tanks.
The most recent in a series of arms-pledging conferences held since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine 11 months ago, NATO and defense leaders from nearly 50 countries met on Friday at the American Ramstein Air Base in Germany.
Although no agreement was reached, European leaders at the summit pressured Germany once more to grant the go-ahead for the delivery of German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine in order to push back Moscow’s forces.
The refusal to agree to supply the tanks could be a harbinger of expanding differences within NATO about the provision of such weaponry.
Germany’s defence minister Boris Pistorius denied Berlin was unilaterally blocking the delivery of the Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, but said his government was ready to move quickly on the issue if there were consensus among allies.
“There are good reasons for the deliveries and there are good reasons against, and in view of the entire situation of a war that has been ongoing for almost one year, all pros and cons must be weighed very carefully,” he said, without elaborating on the reasons.
Pressure has been building on Berlin to provide tanks to Kyiv that Ukraine sees as key in the war against Russia.
The impression “there is a united coalition and that Germany is standing in the way is wrong”, Pistorius said, adding “there are many allies who say we share the view that I have put forward here.”
Pistorius said while there was no decision yet on whether to send the Leopard tanks, “We will make our decisions as soon as possible.”
Russia, meanwhile, said the West supplying battle tanks to Ukraine will not change the course of the war and Kyiv’s allies will regret their “delusions” that such a move will prove victorious on the battlefield.
“We have repeatedly said that such supplies will not fundamentally change anything, but will add problems for Ukraine and the Ukrainian people,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
Asked whether the supply of increasingly advanced weapons to Ukraine meant the conflict was escalating, he added, “We see a growing indirect and sometimes direct involvement of NATO countries in this conflict.
“We observe a dedication to the spectacular illusion that Ukraine can prevail in battle. This is a tremendous misconception of the West that will lead to regret on multiple occasions.
In late 2021, right before it invaded Ukraine, Russia highlighted strategic concerns that should be taken into consideration, according to Peskov.
Before beginning its invasion on February 24, 2022, Moscow addressed a list of security requests to the United States and accused NATO of compromising the security of the area.
In addition to requesting a ban on Ukraine and former Soviet Union members joining NATO, Russia also requested a reduction in NATO’s involvement in Eastern Europe.
According to Kyiv and Western nations, these were flimsy justifications for a “imperial-style country.”