The Western Allies could not reach a decision over a rapid shipment of battle tanks in Ukraine to boost its firepower against Russian defence forces. The meeting of the allies on Friday failed to decide on the matter with the United States urging Kyiv to hold off from mounting such an operation, reported Reuters.
Notably, the Ramstein meeting was set-up to discuss the issue of whether Germany would agree to send Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, or allow other countries that have them to do so. In the end, allies pledged more weaponry support to Ukraine, but no common ground could be reached on supplying Leopards.
“We had a frank discussion on Leopards 2. To be continued,” Ukrainian Defence Minister Oleskii Reznikov said after the meeting, quoted Reuters.
What Came Out Of The Meeting
Reuters also quoted a senior US official saying that the United States was also holding fast to its decision not to provide Abrams tanks to Ukraine yet.
U.S. General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said after the meeting that it would be difficult for Ukraine to drive Russian forces from the country this year.
According to Reuters, he told a news conference, “From a military standpoint, I still maintain that for this year, it would be very, very difficult to militarily eject the Russian forces from every inch of Russian-occupied Ukraine.”
The outcome is, for sure, not as what Ukraine expected it to be. President Volodymyr Zelensky earlier specifically requested battle tanks to tackle Russian forces as the war nears completing a year in almost a month.
Addressing a news conference after the meet, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said that while time was of the essence for Ukraine to take the fight to Russia’s forces in the spring, Ukraine was well-equipped even without the Leopards, reported Reuters.
“Ukraine is not dependent on a single platform,” he said.
Pressure On US
The report adds that US President Joe Biden’s administration faces pressure at home to supply more advanced weaponry. It says that a group of US senators visiting Kyiv on Friday slammed the delays.
They said, as reported by Reuters, “We should not send American troops to Ukraine, but we should provide Ukraine with whatever we would give our troops if they were fighting on the ground.”
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told Reuters Ukraine’s supporters needed to focus not only on sending new weapons but supplying ammunition for older systems to sustain.
Russia On West’s Meet
Reacting to the allies’ meet on aiding Ukraine, Kremlin said that supplying tanks to Ukraine would not help and that the West would regret its “delusion” that Kyiv could win on the battlefield, as mentioned by Reuters.
There has been heavy pressure on Germany to allow Leopards to be sent. Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s Social Democrat party is traditionally sceptical of military involvements and is of the view that it could cause Moscow to further escalate.
German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius said he could not say when there would be a decision on the tanks but assured that Berlin was prepared to move quickly if there was consensus among allies.
“All pros and cons must be weighed very carefully,” Pistorius said.
Addressing the meeting, Zelenskiy thanked allies for their support but said more was needed and more quickly.
“We have to speed up. Time must become our weapon. The Kremlin must lose,” he said, quoted Reuters.