Germany’s vice chancellor said Thursday that Berlin won’t stand in the way of Poland sending German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, a move that would significantly escalate Western military aid for Kyiv and risk provoking Moscow.
“There is a difference between making a decision for oneself and preventing the decision of others,” Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck said. “And accordingly, Germany should not stand in the way when other countries make decisions to support Ukraine, regardless of what decision Germany makes.”
Habeck’s comments come after Polish President Andrzej Duda said his government decided to send about 14 Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, a move that needs Berlin’s approval. It’s still not clear if Warsaw has formally made the request of Germany. Poland could be waiting for other countries to send tanks as Duda said he wants to transfer them as part of an “international coalition.”
The UK is also preparing to provide Ukraine with its main battle tank, the Challenger 2. Financial Times reported Thursday that British officials said Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has ordered his Defense Secretary Ben Wallace to “work with partners” in the coming weeks to go “further and faster with our support for Ukraine, including the provision of tanks.”
Whether it’s the Challenger 2 to the Leopard 2, whichever makes it to Ukraine first would be the first Western-made tank provided to Kyiv. Ukrainian officials are looking for a lot and say they need at least 300 if they want a chance of pushing Russia out of the territory it has captured.
There’s currently no sign that the US is planning to send Abrams tanks to Ukraine, but the White House said Thursday that President Biden “fully supports” the decision of Britain and Poland to provide Kyiv with their tanks.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz was previously strongly opposed to arming Ukraine with tanks. Explaining his opposition in September, the German leader said he was trying to avoid a direct war between NATO and Russia.
93 thoughts on “German Vice Chancellor Says Poland Can Send Leopard Tanks to Ukraine”
See what happens?… This is going to continue to build….
Germany, the modern Pontius Pilate.
More like Judas’, they get paid for throwing their nation and the continent to the wolves.
According to some, Pilate wanted to see Jesus freed and washing his hands was of the townspeople who preferred a crook to the Christ.
Of course, I wasn’t there…
The townspeople were given the choice of having one of two people freed:
1) The rabbi (Jesus); or
2) Bar Abbas (the son of the rabbi)
They chose the heir.
They chose the thief. You see, I was there…
They chose Bar Abbas — the son of the rabbi.
Here comes the Polish government (not clear Polish people want to die first) again trying to escalate, wishing for the first nuclear bomb to fall on their heads. Garland Nixon’s youtube clip yesterday was lit.
That was to be expected. Business as usual.
“German Chancellor Olaf Scholz was previously strongly opposed to arming Ukraine with tanks. Explaining his opposition in September, the German leader said he was trying to avoid a direct war between NATO and Russia.”
I guess the direct war is not an issue any more for Scholzi?
The guy is a milquetoast.
A combination of bribes and blackmail is working quite efficiently.
“I’m not sending Ukraine tanks. I’m just sending tanks to the people who send the tanks to Ukraine.”
Sounds kinda like the Fed. “I’m not buying bonds from the government! We’re just buying bonds from the people who buy government bonds!”
I am actually relieved about our obvious lies acting like the US is not involved in the Ukrainian conflict.
SMO is much less deadly than Shock and Awe war.
Once the narrative changes to the war being US-Russia, then missile attacks on US military bases in Poland and Romania are inevitable, with follow up attacks on US bases in Germany, UK, and even the US.
The longer it takes for these escalations to happen, the longer we get to live.
I see your reasoning, But it seems to me this is more of a boiling frog moment. Americans would have been outrages if the US had directly entered the conflict when Russia invaded. But if we keep allowing escalations one by one, there will come a point when Americans are convinced that Russia unequivocally started this war. The American side of the provocations and escalations will be erased from their memories, and they will only see Russian aggression. When at the beginning they would refuse to go to war, in the end they will be demanding to go.
I would just change but to and in your first line. The obvious lies are slowing down the escalation, but escalations continue to happen and are getting worse. Eventually the frog will likely be boiled.
I share your concern about incremental escalation and how it shifts the baseline of what is perceived as normal and acceptable. I am coming to believe that a significant number of US neoconservatives believe the US should go toe-to-toe with Russia. And that those neoconservatives in the US foreign policy establishment (e.g., US State Dept.) are walking the US into a major war that they believe the US can win, and which they consider inevitable. I hope I am wrong.
Well, I think you’re wrong, but only on one point, and it doesn’t make the situation better. You said “they [neocons] consider [a major war] inevitable”.
I don’t think the neocons think it’s inevitable. In fact, I think they think if we did nothing war would be averted. They don’t think war is inevitable, which is why they must fight so hard to get us into a major war.
What a disappointment this German government is.
Don Julio is right about one thing. A WW2 style production strategy could very well enable the US to provide enough weapons and ammunition to deal with multiple wars (Russia, Iran, China, Syria, Somalia, and possibly others).
Better than nuclear war.
According to our Secretary of Defense, a much more modest approach would take about a 2 year lead time.
I would like to conclude that military planners are coordinating the new wars that we get involved in with our mitary production increases. Otherwise we are just killing off our veterans for no good reason and enriching billionaires at the expense of every else.
The WW2 style production strategy relied on a few pre-existing conditions.
One was a high unemployment rate (11% or so in 1941, versus 3.5% right now), meaning that the labor pool was there to meet production needs.
Another was a decade of poverty beforehand which was different in character but not degree from the sacrifices demanded of the citizenry in terms of privation. Before, it was hard to afford stuff. Then, it was possible to afford stuff but stuff was rationed.
After World War 2, a substantial portion of the war economy continued, and has continued to this day. But re-nationalizing the rest of it would probably be a hard sell.
So this implies that when the Secretary of Defense talked about using a third of our Stinger and Javelin (and artillery shell?) stock, well this year in Ukraine we will use our second third, at which point we will have to be quite judicious in where we use these assets.
Germany, France, and UK combined outspend Russia 2 to 1 on military equipment, the US outspends them by more than 8 to 1, we spent more last year on Ukraine than Russia’s complete annual military budget, and yet they have orders of magnitude more ammunition and missiles than us?
Please tell me what is wrong with the above analysis.
“Germany, France, and UK combined outspend Russia 2 to 1 on military equipment, the US outspends them by more than 8 to 1, we spent more last year on Ukraine than Russia’s complete annual military budget, and yet they have orders of magnitude more ammunition and missiles than us?
“Please tell me what is wrong with the above analysis.”
Well, for one thing, the final clause wants for evidence.
The evidence is that they took Soledar, and we are not marching into Crimea.
The evidence is that we are complaining about how evil Russia is for launching so many missiles at Ukraine, while only having a few succeses to talk about.
The evidence is that the US has depleted a third of its stockpile, and will not be able to replace it soon. That was attributed to the Secretary of Defense. And the US has confirmed that a third of our artillery units are in repair in Warsaw due to overheating from too much use of existing stockpiles of artillery shells.
The evidence is that after delivering so much to Ukraine over the last year, Ukraine still is requesting a LOT more. Ukrainian officials have confirmed the artillery shell shortage – if you insist I will start checking out Ukrainian sites even more than I have in the past.
Russia has used a lot of missiles, and a lot of artillery shells. They do not seem to be running out of either at this time.
Right. Because the Russian military, while of course not free from graft, corruption, and so on (no human institution is), is basically set up to protect Russia and its sphere of influence from attack by NATO. Real, actual “defense.”
Whereas the US military is more in the nature of a money making scheme, with actual “defense” being theoretical.
Take the arty that you mention, for one example. US arty is fussy, and breaks down quickly. Because the US generally uses its arty to smash defenseless light infantry in Third World countries. A few shells and the enemy scatters. No need to tax the guns, or use up the stockpile of ammo. Russia, on the other hand, builds robust arty (and other) systems. It makes it equipment easy to train on and easy to use. Lighter on cutting edge tech, but heavier on sustainability. And it builds a lot of it. Lots of artillery pieces, lots of shells. Lots of whatever it makes.
The US is used to fighting “expeditionary” wars of choice with small, high tech forces against hapless, helpless, hopelessly outgunned enemies (and even then it doesn’t do so great, for all of its self aggrandizement), not continental, existential wars against peer adversaries, such as what it and its proxies face in the Ukraine against Russia and its proxies.
One thing “wrong” with it is that the US MIC is dominated by the private sector. US “defense” costs a lot, because the more it costs, the more the private sector profits. A qadrillion dollar airplane is not necessarily better than 100 million dollar airplanes, but it is a lot more profitable.
What is the US buying with all those “defense” dollars? Gold plated systems. Which generate huge profits. Some of which is plowed back into Congress, in the form of campaing contributions, and some of which is plowed back into the Pentagon, in the form of post military career lobbying jobs. But most of which is simply looted by the corporate owners and bosses.
“German Vice Chancellor Says Poland Can Send Leopard Tanks to Ukraine British PM Sunak’s office confirmed London is preparing to send its Challenger 2 tank to Ukraine”
Russia has one of many factories capable of turning out over 80 T-90 tanks each month. A few dissimilar tanks from the West only compounds Ukraine’s problems of integration and use of tanks.
The war in Ukraine is the first industrial war in Europe since 1945. Russia did not export it’s factories to China and Asia so they can still produce weapons and all needed munitions in their own country.
Mean while, the US and Europe are finding that they cannot quickly turn up production on weapons and munitions. Many factories are not capable of ramping up production quickly and the labor pool is not readily available or skilled. Consumer goods are competing for labor and factory space.
German tanks rolling toward Russia again. Who’da thunk it? The irony is they will probably be destroyed in Kursk.
It looks, this time German armor will be destroyed much further to the west. The big question is whether Berlin will be bombed again or not.
The heavy wet soils of Ukraine will soon be stuffed with so many of these heavy, useless tanks that the continued “gifts” of these to Russian weapons- destroyers will finally be noticed by the sad, pathetic leaders of the Western “democracies”.
I rather doubt that either side will deploy many tanks in the mud again, it was a huge surprise that the Russian actually did so in 2022, it is not as if they did not know about the mud problems.
Perhaps more relevant to this debate is the fact that the western supply of tanks is at so low a rate that there is very little chance that the Ukrainians will be able to deploy any significant number before the muddy period is over.
True, but the demand keeps coming, and the West cannot refuse the charismatic, democratic, kind and caring President of the most important nation in the world!!
The demand keeps coming because the Ukrainians are going to run out of tanks at some not too distant point in the future. Running out means taking higher casualties – if tanks were not a net asset the Russians would have stopped using them.
For all the bad rap tanks are getting in this war – they are really hard to replace on the battlefield i.e. trying to do without them can be done but at much higher casualty rates.
Ukraine only became important because it was the place Putin chose to invade – as the ‘west’ (or at least many leaders in the west) sees it, if they do not sanction the Russian invasion to the degree that no sane nation would embark on a similar adventure, then they can count down the months until Xi decides to take ‘back’ Taiwan.
Grandpa never gets tired of his Munich analogy.
Not when it applies in spades – which is why politicians also want to avoid that image.
I’ll make the hot cocoa.
“Chose to invade”???You mean unprovoked???? Russia asks for its own security to be respected, and NATO refuses . Decades of interfering by the USA until finally this became unbearable. Merkel and Hollande admitted their arming of Ukraine’s Nazified government was done, ignoring the UN-sponsored attempts to have a fair agreement with Russian- speaking Ukrainians, and Russia waited 8 years before finally “invading” to free the DPR and LPR. The last year has shown how difficult the process of overcoming the tremendous buildup of anti-Russian/ anti-Donbass independence forces had become, with the help of the West and NATO whose designation of Russia as an enemy is the only reason they “support Ukraine” . The tragedy for Ukraine is from the West, not from the large country NEXT DOOR which wanted security and neutrality.
I do not recognize neither Russia’s nor the US’s right to be provoked by events in sovereign countries – so long as these does not involve stationing nuclear weapons in close by nations (which would endanger us all – nuclear war by accident).
So no the fact that Ukraine 8 years before the SMO ousted a Russia friendly government does in no way justify an invasion in 2022, their desire to join NATO does not justify an invasion. So just what provocation is it that you see which could justify an invasion in February 2022?
No they did manifestly not – there was no mentioning of any Nazi government nor was there a desire to ignore the fair agreement as it was not a fair agreement but a coerced agreement.
No the west supports Ukraine because it was invaded, not because it has designated Russia as its enemy – (it has designated Russia as its enemy, but that is less relevant in this conflict).
If it this was not the case then the west could arrive at some compromise, the reason that they cannot is that what Putin did was to start a war of aggression with the purpose of territorial conquest – the consequences of allowing this even by rewarding it though a compromise settlement is that this kind of SMO’s becomes the new normal.
Even the threat of this being the outcome has already led to massive increased in defense spending in countries very far away from Europe.
The tragedy for Ukraine is that them wanting to join EU made it important for Putin to prevent this – he could not have the Ukrainians show casing to his own people just how much richer and happier they could be without his kind of corrupt leadership – which would have been the case had Ukraine through the process of meeting the demands to join EU curbed their own corruption and addressed the rights of minorities living in Ukraine.
“No the west supports Ukraine because it was invaded, not because it
has designated Russia as its enemy – (it has designated Russia as its
enemy, but that is less relevant in this conflict).”
What business is it for the West to interfere? You call it invasion-what about overthrow of government ? The USA did that.
“what Putin did was to start a war of aggression with the purpose of territorial conquest -”
NONSENSE; it was NOT aggression but culling the military resources set up against Russia. As for territory- do you not know that Russia is the largest country on earth and does NOT want a lot of extra land filled with enemies ? It asks for neutrality next door, while NATO encourages violence. Russia has NOT tried to expand, but HAS asked for security from those who obviously say it is an enemy. End of 2021-check out the Russian demands which were ignored. All the sanctions trying to destroy Russia are illegal, but the West finds international law constraining so has its own ‘rules’.
No proof that the US overthrew the Ukrainian government, moreover even had there been two democratic elections later Ukraine has not complained about this supposed overthrow engineered by a foreign power – two democratic elections that each lost the sitting administrations their seats. The second of which lost the extreme right its last seat in parliament – so very far from the usual pattern of foreign assisted coups.
As doe what business is it of the west, well the answer is the one I have already provided you – if not resisted this SMO would lead to China taking Taiwan – given that the overwhelming majority of the chips we use are produced there, that is not an scenario the west can cope with. Hence if the west can by ‘standing up to Putin’ prove to Xi that taking Taiwan will be met with very severe consequences and hence prevent the Chinese/him from doing this, then even at very high cost to the west it would be well worth the efforts spend.
This all the more so seeing as the mere threat of this scenario is already driving more nations to elevating their defense spending and thus lowering what could be better spend on promoting growth. Sure the arms industry would make a ‘killing’ in this scenario, but defense spending is a poor driver of economic growth.
If that was the case why did they annex the 4 new oblasts?
You are here being contradicted by the fact that Putin has already annexed such territories – but he might have a plan to ‘re-educate’ or ethnically cleanse the enemies that may remain!?
Yes so it did after already annexing Crimea – so what Putin really wanted was to have Ukraine end its claims to Crimea and an end to western sanctions over Crimea – not acceptable to the west, it would be rewarding war of aggression with the purpose of territorial annexation.
Again contradicted by the events that have happened – Crimea if you are talking about 2021 and the 4 additional oblasts if 2022.
No the Russian annexations are illegal – but that is just if we keep to the laws that we used to condemn the Germans after WWII.
“‘Chose to invade’???You mean unprovoked????
“Chosen” /= “unprovoked.”
One can be “provoked” all day long; how one responds is a choice.
Please tell me what choice Russia had after all those years since 2014, especially now that Merkel and Hollande have brazenly admitted their part in arming the régime in Ukraine while being part of a UN-sponsored plan for agreement with Russia.
Putin had all kinds of choices. And he picked one.
so you cannot even mention one.
More Euro junk off to be destroyed by the Russian military in Ukraine.
That’s right, since WW2, Poland needs German approval to dish out their own property.
German industry also announced to the press yesterday that it, and Germany, cannot get any tanks ready for Ukraine before next year, 2024.
Whatever Poland might do, it won’t move Germany until events have passed by this issue.
This constant demand for new wonder weapons, and a lot more of everything, is not the appearance of a winner. It is what the frightened and desperate would be saying and doing. Contra the media storm of Ukraine’s victories piling up, they seem to be quite worried.
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