Russian President Vladimir Putin attends the annual meeting of the Council of the Ministry of Defense in Moscow, Russia, December 21, 2022.
Sergey Fadeychev | Sputnik | Reuters
Russia has expressed growing fury at the prospect of sending modern Western tanks to Ukraine, calling it “extremely dangerous” and saying previous “red lines” are now a thing of the past.
Germany announced on Wednesday that it is ready to send 14 Leopard 2 main battle tanks to Ukraine and allow other countries to send their own German-made tanks to Kyiv. The US is also expected to announce its own intention to send Abrams tanks to Ukraine in the near future.
Ukraine’s use of modern Western tanks is likely to boost its efforts to push Russian forces out of occupied areas of the country, particularly the eastern Donbas region, but Russia sees the tank donation as further evidence that the West is fighting what it sees as a proxy war against it in Ukraine.
The Russian embassy in Berlin called the German government’s decision “extremely dangerous” and said it “takes the conflict to a new level of confrontation.”
In an online statementtranslated by Google, the embassy said the move “contradicts the statements of German politicians about the reluctance of the NSR [Federal Republic of Germany] be drawn into it [the war]. Unfortunately, it happens again and again.”
The embassy said it is now convinced that Germany and its closest allies “are not interested in a diplomatic solution to the Ukraine crisis” but are “set for its permanent escalation and unlimited pumping of increasingly lethal weapons to the Kiev regime”.
Finally, she warned that “red lines” or limits for both sides were now “a thing of the past”, with similar comments from the Russian Foreign Ministry on Wednesday in response to the prospect of US Abrams tanks being sent to Ukraine. claims that the US has “unequivocally expressed its desire to inflict a strategic defeat on Russia”.
“There is a hybrid war going on against our country, which the Secretary of State [Sergei] Lavrov talked about this in detail recently. Arguments about red lines are a thing of the past,” the Foreign Ministry told the state news agency Tassin comments translated by Google.
“The United States has clearly expressed its desire to inflict a strategic defeat on Russia. It is impossible not to notice the reality,” the ministry added, Tass said.
After Germany’s tank decision, all eyes are on the US to announce that it is ready to send a number of its own Abrams tanks to Ukraine. Three senior US officials he told NBC News On Tuesday, the Biden administration is set to send several dozen Abrams tanks to Ukraine, though they stressed that the decision is not final.
Germany was reportedly reluctant to send its own tanks unless the US did the same, and a defense summit in Germany last Friday failed to reach an agreement on the tanks, with the US remaining non-committal on sending the Abrams. However, the German turnaround signals a change of opinion in Washington as well.
Even without an announcement from the White House, Russia’s ambassador to the United States, Anatoly Antonov, criticized the prospect of American tanks in Ukraine, calling the move “another blatant provocation against the Russian Federation.”
“If the United States decides to supply tanks, it will not be possible to justify such a move with arguments about ‘defensive weapons,'” he said on Telegram on Wednesdaysaying that American tanks would be “destroyed [just like] all other samples of NATO military equipment.”
Russia has repeatedly warned the West against sending tanks to Ukraine, saying they would be a legitimate target for Russian armed forces, like other NATO weapons, and that any prospect of talks to end the war would be an even more remote possibility.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said at a media briefing on Wednesday that “now we can only state that there are currently no prospects of entering the diplomatic route.”
“Unfortunately, we see many manifestations of the conviction of a number of politicians, a number of experts, the military and so on, who believe that it is by continuing the war that the security of the continent can be ensured. An absurd belief,” Peskov said in comments translated by NBC News.
Asked about the possibility of sending the US Abrams to Ukraine, Peskov told reporters: “I am convinced that even many experts understand the absurdity of this idea. It’s just that from the point of view of technological aspects, this plan is quite unsuccessful, and the most important thing is that it is a clear overestimating the potential it will add to the armed forces of Ukraine,” he said.
“But we have already said that these tanks will burn like all the others,” Peskov said.