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After having appointed a new Defense Minister, Boris Pistorius, Germany is increasing pressure on Washington to send M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, a move the Biden administration has been hesitant to make for fear that Russia will view it as an escalation.
Pistorius was appointed Defense Minister after Christine Lambrecht resigned from the position the day prior after being repeatedly accused of taking a weak stance on arming Ukraine. The German government has made it clear that Pistorius will be responsible for making the decision whether or not to provide tanks to Ukraine as Kyiv’s requests grow more urgent.
In an effort to pressure Washington into providing M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, the German government has said that it will not send its own tanks or allow allies to send German-made tanks to Ukraine unless the U.S. agrees to send American-made tanks as well.
Several NATO nations, including Poland, Denmark, and Finland, have offered to send highly sophisticated German-made Leopard tanks to Ukraine, but Germany would have to approve the move first and is taking the opportunity to pressure the U.S.
This has been the first month in the almost year-long war that Ukraine’s pleas for Western-made tanks have gained political traction. If Germany’s attempt to pressure the U.S. to provide tanks to Ukraine is successful, then it would be the first time Kyiv would receive Western tanks as opposed to the Soviet tanks and infantry carriers that have been supplied thus far.
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The House GOP is also pressuring the Biden administration to send tanks and munitions to Ukraine, with House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Mike Rogers saying in a statement, “Leopard 2 tanks, ATACMS, and other long-range precision munitions should be approved without delay.”
Despite House Republicans’ eagerness to send tanks and other arms to Ukraine, German Chancellor Olaf Schulz has consistently been reluctant to be the first Western country to provide tanks to Kyiv for fear of creating an escalation with Moscow that could lead to a direct conflict with Russia.
Some see the refusal on Germany’s part to allow any allies to send German-made tanks to Ukraine as sabotage from Scholz.
Meanwhile, Scholz praised Ukraine’s response to the war while speaking in Davos.
While Pistorius states at the end of his address, “We will support Ukraine for as long as necessary,” the unspoken caveat is that the U.S. must lead the way for the West’s support.
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