Tanks for Kyiv: growing support

Britain has decided to provide Challenger 2 battle tanks to Ukraine. Finland, Lithuania, Poland and Spain have announced they want to send German Leopard battle tanks, and Sweden is also considering doing so. So the pressure on Germany to give its stamp of approval for such deliveries and join the alliance is growing. Europe's press remains focussed on the question of whether Ukraine will receive full support.

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Público (PT) /

Time to take a clear-cut stance

Público demands a clear signal from Germany:

“Without the tanks and armoured vehicles it is calling for, Ukraine is in danger of being left in an unfavourable position for the reconquest of its territory. ... It's clear that Berlin didn't want to overcommit itself to helping Ukraine or antagonise Russia, very much aware that it must not miss any opportunity to strengthen its political and economic relations with Moscow. But now the time has come for Olaf Scholz to decide whether the present of Ukrainian resistance matters more than the future of relations with Moscow in a decisive war over the future of the European balance of power.”

Politika (RS) /

Scholz waiting for the go-ahead from Washington

Politika writes:

“Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has long dreamed of getting hold of 300 modern Western tanks that could turn the tide of the war. ... The Kremlin warns Nato members that delivering heavy tanks is a 'red line', the crossing of which could mean large-scale missile attacks. ... Olaf Scholz has so far shown no intention of pressing ahead. ... Perhaps he doesn't want to succumb to pressure from London and burn the few bridges with Russia, if there are any left, that is. Two German officials revealed to Politico that Scholz's position on sending German tanks depends on Joe Biden's decision [about sending US tanks]. But the Americans are wisely keeping silent on the issue for now. ”

Expressen (SE) /

Sweden should also participate

Things are going in the right direction now, Expressen comments:

“That Finland, with its long border with Russia, is considering sending some of its 200 Leopard 2s can only be welcomed. Sweden has about 120 of them. ... The government should seriously consider sending some, and if that is not possible, it should support Ukraine militarily in other ways. Perhaps through tank ammunition, if desired. Now it remains to be seen whether all the promised combat vehicle deliveries will become reality. But they are crucial for a democracy under threat - and they would send an important signal to Vladimir Putin: The West will hold out for as long as it takes.”

La Stampa (IT) /

Armament spiral keeps spinning

La Stampa fears that the debate will not end with battle tanks:

“In the chronological list of weapons used and supplied by the West, we can read the painful X-ray of this disaster. ... Ten months ago, certain naive people were still debating whether the machine gun was a defensive weapon and what calibre of cannon would be sufficient to help Ukraine defend itself. ... Once the mechanism is set in motion, there are no limits, it feeds and justifies itself. Ammunition, anti-aircraft, field howitzers with a range of three hundred kilometres, anti-ship missiles, armoured vehicles. ... Now all that's missing is fighter bombers. The last fig leaf of bellicose shame. Just be patient. Soon it will be their turn too.”

Deutschlandfunk (DE) /

Ukraine needs to be secured in the long-term

Deutschlandfunk sees no alternative to permanently supplying arms to Kyiv:

“Expanding the support arsenal will continue to be necessary in the future in order to keep Ukraine secure. As host of the G7 meeting in Elmau, Olaf Scholz dismissed the question of permanent security guarantees for Ukraine in the summer with a misplaced grin. He won't be able to afford this stance in the second year of the war. The bitter truth is that Ukraine can only exist and thus guarantee security for the rest of Europe as a heavily armed country with powerful deterrent potential. The question of what comes after the Marder and the Leopard is therefore inevitable.”

Polityka (PL) /

Poland getting the ball rolling

After the announcement by Polish President Andrzej Duda Germany will finally have to give in, according to Polityka:

“The Polish initiative is intended to exert so much self-reinforcing pressure on Berlin and other countries that there can be no turning back. The president's statement comes at a key time: a week before a meeting of the top commanders of the Nato countries. ... It did not come as a surprise, however, because Duda's construction of a multinational coalition for the deployment of tanks to Ukraine was already announced a few days ago by the head of the Polish government. So if the whole thing was well prepared, further statements announcing the formation of one or two tank battalions can be expected in the coming days.”

LRT (LT) /

Free the Leopards!

Posterity will one day puzzle over why it took so long for this decision to be made, Lrt believes:

“Give Ukraine the tanks! Free the leopards! Poland, Finland and even France have asked Germany to provide Ukraine with German tanks, without which its army will not be able to launch a final liberation offensive. Why the Nato powers delayed this logical military decision is something post-war historians will write about for a long time to come. ... After [the Leopards have been delivered] we will be able to rejoice and sigh together: why couldn't this have been done sooner? How many lives, how much blood and tears could have been saved?”

Der Tagesspiegel (DE) /

Scholz left isolated for fear of solo action

The German chancellor's arguments against delivering Leopard tanks are looking increasingly flimsy, Der Tagesspiegel comments:

“There is no Nato agreement that prevents it. There is also no threat of Berlin having to go it alone on the delivery of Leopards. In fact quite the opposite: the allies want to send tanks, but Berlin is preventing this by refusing to grant permission for exports. On top of that it seems increasingly likely that if the US piles the pressure on, Scholz will give in. The Europeans simply don't count in his eyes. What a ghastly punchline: the SPD as a force that increases Europe's dependence on the US instead of strengthening its ability to act.”

Kaleva (FI) /

A rewarding moral obligation

Finland is in a good position to deliver Leopards to Ukraine, Kaleva argues:

“Finland has a moral obligation to participate in the European coalition, should it come into being. Delivering a few of its 200 or so Leopards to Ukraine won't undermine Finland's defence capabilities. We should also bear in mind that Russia has wasted most of its offensive forces in Ukraine, and looks set to continue doing so for years to come. ... A common European line on Leopard deliveries will hopefully be found at the summit on military aid for Ukraine taking place in Ramstein next Friday. Merely knowing that Leopards are to be delivered would shake the Russians' belief in their victory.”

Deutschlandfunk (DE) /

Berlin must dare to go it alone

Leopard battle tanks are exactly what Ukraine urgently needs, Deutschlandfunk insists:

“Many European countries use them, spare parts and ammunition can be obtained no matter what the location, so presumably also as far away as Ukraine. Supplying soldiers with a single tank model simply makes more sense than sending many different models, as is now being done with the lighter tanks. ... But Berlin isn't budging on this. Since the Leopard is produced here, the other states that own these tanks are only allowed to give them to Kyiv if the Federal Security Council, i.e. the German government, allows it. Meaning that Germany must now dare to go it alone, because unless it does, the collective European tank supply strategy cannot begin.”

NV (UA) /

Late delivery is a deliberate strategy

Writing in in NV.ua, columnist Ivan Yakovina does not believe that increasing supplies of Western arms to Ukraine will cause the military situation to get out of control:

“I would like to share with you an observation that I think is very important. None of the news about [the most recent] arms deliveries caused much surprise or shock among Russians. Instead, they wondered: why did it take so long? This is a very important part of the Western strategy: to make sure that the new weapons don't come as a shock for Russian society and Vladimir Putin. And that they don't force Putin to press the red nuclear button.”

Index.hr (HR) /

Germany's blockade options dwindling

The pressure on Berlin will increase, Index.hr is sure:

“The best thing is that there is not a single German component in the [British] Challenger 2 tanks, meaning that Chancellor Olaf Scholz and his SPD cannot prevent its delivery as they did when Madrid wanted to give Leopard 2 tanks to the Ukrainians. Berlin will certainly lobby strongly against the Challenger deliveries - for fear of coming under even greater pressure. ... Warsaw let it be known that it was willing to supply Ukraine with its Leopard 2s as quickly as the US can supply Abrams and South Korea its Black Panthers. Currently, the Polish army has 132 Leopard 2A4s, 105 Leopard 2A5s and five modernised Leopard 2PLs in its arsenal. But Berlin's permission is needed before they can be delivered.”

Süddeutsche Zeitung (DE) /

Supplying Leopard tanks would also help Biden

Germany should deliver Leopard tanks but not on its own, writes the Süddeutsche Zeitung:

“It would be more effective to form an alliance with the many European armed forces that use the Leopard 2 from Germany to equip Ukraine: this would guarantee quantity, logistics and spare parts. ... With such a Leopard initiative, the Europeans and especially the Germans would make life much easier for the transatlantic Joe Biden. The president could explain to his sceptical compatriots that it is not always the US that bears the brunt of the burden. Sometimes it's the allies on whose continent and on whose doorstep Putin's Russia has destroyed the peace.”

Gazeta Wyborcza (PL) /

Green light from Germany increasingly likely

Gazeta Wyborcza hopes for a green light from Berlin:

“Besides Poland, Finland and Denmark among other countries are also willing to deliver Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine. ... The big question now is whether Germany will agree to the transfer of Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine by this 'coalition'. After the breakthrough on the delivery of Patriot missile defence systems and Marder light tanks this seems increasingly likely.”

tagesschau.de (DE) /

Make Putin's nightmare come true

Once again Europe is failing to take concerted action on arms deliveries, tagesschau.de complains:

“There is still an option for a strong European response to Putin's madness: ... Joint deliveries of battle tanks by several European states. According to [SPD foreign affairs expert Michael] Roth, taken together 13 of them have 2,000 Leopard 2 tanks in total. This would not be a German solo effort, but it would need Berlin's approval because this is a German-made tank. Putin's worst nightmare' - Olaf Scholz wrote in the same article [in the magazine Foreign Affairs]- is a strong EU that cannot be divided. An EU in which Germany and France work even more closely together. It is time to make this nightmare of Putin's a reality.”

Der Tagesspiegel (DE) /

Pressure on Scholz growing

Germany should overcome its reservations and deliver heavy-duty Leopard battle tanks to Ukraine, demands Der Tagesspiegel:

“No Western army needs to give tanks from its stocks. The manufacturers have a sufficient supply. Unlike the US Abrams battle tanks, which run on gas turbines or petrol engines, Leopards run on diesel like most of Ukraine's military equipment. So the country wouldn't have to set up extra supply lines for fuel. And Germany wouldn't have to risk going it alone either. Several European countries are willing to supply the Leopards together with Germany. All that is missing is the export licence. In other words, the will.”

Polityka (PL) /

One step further

Polityka detects a certain dynamic:

“From hand-held, portable weapons to towed and self-propelled howitzers, surface-to-surface missiles, anti-aircraft radar missiles, anti-ship missiles and anti-aircraft systems of different generations and different ranges - in less than a year we have reached the stage where we are handing over top-of-the-range weapons. ... So will anyone be surprised if in a few weeks or months, German Leopards, American Abrams, British Challengers or French Leclercs follow the combat vehicles on their path to Ukraine? They certainly shouldn't be.”