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Friction behind the smiles at defence chiefs meeting – as Ukraine tank saga rolls on

The unified smiles, handshakes and handshakes during a meeting of allies to pledge additional weapons for Ukraine created a feeling of friction.

For months, Kyiv has asked its Western backers to donate hundreds more modern battle tanks to help it launch offensive operations against Russian forces.

This request was met by more than 50 countries at an American air base in Germany on Friday.



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The UK responded, though its hollowed out forces could only save 14 Challenger 2 main battle tank.

Poland claimed it was available to send a number its German-made Leopard 2 tank,but Germany – the country that holds the key to unlock large numbers of the weapon– just blink.

Image Leopard 2A6 battle tank

Berlin did not make any announcement, but there was still indecision despite the pressure from Chancellor Olaf’s Scholz allies and NATO partners to move beyond what was previously a red line.

To cover up any rifts, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin (convener of the Ukraine Contact Group meeting) and General Mark Milley, his top military officer, insisted that the allies were united.

General Milley stated, “I believe that over my 43-years in uniform, I think this is the most united I’ve ever seen NATO.”

They also highlighted the challenges faced by Ukraine and the need for military equipment and training to provide the ability to conduct complex operations using a combination tank, armoured fighting vehicle and artillery.

Image Mr Reznikov and NATO Secretary General Jens Scholtenberg

General Milley stated that it would be difficult this year to militarily expel the Russian troops from every inch in Russian-occupied Ukraine during a joint press conference after the Ramstein meeting.

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“It doesn’t necessarily mean it won’t be possible, it doesn’t mean that it won’t happen. But it will be extremely difficult.”

Russia is training and rearming new troops to fight what many Western and Ukrainian officials believe will be an offensive by spring.

Image Ukraine leaders claim that modern Western weaponry is crucial for their victory in the war

This was the point President Zelenskyy made, speaking via video link to assembled defense ministers.

“Time is still a Russian weapon. He said that we must speed up.

“Time must be our common weapon, as air defense and artillery, armoured vehicle and tanks.”

Germany, which has been criticized for its slowness in providing lethal assistance to Ukraine in the past, doesn’t want to be rushed. This is especially true in a week in which its defense minister was forced out of office.



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Boris Pistorius was appointed as her replacement a few days ago and was left to defend Germany’s position.

“We don’t fear anything. We only have a responsibility to our population in Germany, and Europe. Before we make decisions like this, we must balance all the pros and cons,” said Mr Pistorius in English.

He stated that a decision should be made soon, which is a sign of how far this tank story has yet to go.

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