Friction behind the smiles at defence chiefs meeting as Ukraine tank saga rolls on | World News

There was a sense of friction behind the unanimous smiles and handshakes at the allies meeting to pledge more weapons to Ukraine.

Kyiv has been asking its Western backers for months to donate hundreds of advanced battle tanks to bolster its armed forces’ offensive capabilities against Russian positions.

The gathering of more than 50 nations at a US air base in Germany on Friday came at a crucial moment to respond to the request.

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gave Britain stepped up, Although his hollow army could only save 14 Challenger 2 main battle tanks.

Poland said it was. Ready to ship a large number of its German-made Leopard 2 tanks., But Germany itself — the country that holds the key to unlocking the vast arsenal — blinkered.

A Leopard 2A6 main battle tank of the 2nd Company, 393rd Armor Battalion during a force training exercise at the German Army Combat Training Center on January 16, 2016.  Photo by: Ralph Zwilling/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images
Cheetah 2A6 battle tank

Instead of an announcement from Berlin, there was indecisiveness despite weeks of mounting pressure. Chancellor Olaf Scholes to her NATO Partners to cross what was previously a red line.

Willing to give papers on any crack, U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, K. Convenor Ukraine The contact group meeting, and their top military officer, General Mark Milley, insisted that the Allies were as united as ever.

“I think in my 43 years in uniform, this is the most unified NATO I’ve seen,” General Milley declared.

But he also stressed the challenge Ukraine faces – and the need to ensure military equipment and training provide the capability needed to conduct complex operations involving a combination of tanks, armored fighting vehicles and artillery.

Ukraine's Defense Minister Oleksiy Ryzenkov, left, gestures as he speaks with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, right, before a meeting of the 'Ukraine Defense Coordination Group'.  Friday, January 20, 2023, at Ramstein Air Base in Ramstein, Germany.
Mr Rezinkov with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg

“It will be very difficult to pull out militarily this year. Russian troops from every inch of Russian-held Ukraine,” General Milli said at a joint press conference at the end of the meeting at the Ramstein base.

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“It doesn’t mean it can’t happen, it doesn’t mean it won’t happen, but it will be very difficult.”

With Russia rearming and training newly mobilized troops, which many Western and Ukrainian officials believe will lead to a new wave of aggression by spring, time is not on Ukraine’s side.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks via video link during a meeting of defense ministers at Ramstein Air Base in Germany to discuss how to help Ukraine defend itself, following Russia's pressure on Ukraine. As the attacks continue, Kyiv on January 20, 2023.  Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS
Ukraine’s leaders say they need modern Western weapons to win the war.

This point was emphasized by President Zelensky, who spoke to the assembled defense ministers via video link.

He said that time is a Russian weapon.

“Time must be our common weapon, exactly air defense and artillery, armored vehicles and tanks.”

But Germany, which in the past has been accused of being too slow to deliver lethal aid to Ukraine, does not want to rush, especially in a week when its defense minister was forced to resign.

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A new man, Boris Pistorius, had been appointed in his place just days earlier. And he was left to defend the German position.

“We are not afraid of anything,” Mr Pistorius told reporters, speaking in English. “We only have a responsibility to our population in Germany and in Europe and we have to weigh all the pros and cons before deciding on such matters.” It has to be balanced.”

A decision should come soon, he said – a sign that the tank story still has miles to go.

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