Ukraine, GB to Germany: “Send Leopard tanks immediately”

“It would be a quantum leap”

Britain urges Germany to send Leopard 2 tanks to Ukrainea step that would represent, Defense Undersecretary Baroness Goldie said in a speech to the House of Commons, “a quantum leap, i.e. a very significant progress” in the progress of the war. London, he added, could send more Challenger 2 tanks, in addition to the 14 already promised.

GERMANY – German Chancellor Olaf Scholz remains evasive on the supply of Leopard tanks to Ukraine, despite numerous international pressure to give the go-ahead. “We continue to supply Ukraine with large quantities of weapons, in close consultation with our partners,” he said in his speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, citing artillery, air defense systems and armored vehicles. When asked why Germany is hesitating about Leopards, Scholz limited himself to saying that Germany is one of Ukraine’s allies “doing the best”. “Berlin will make the most important decisions on arms supplies with “friends and partners”, especially the United States. The German go-ahead is also needed for the supply of Leopard to Kiev by countries that have purchased this tank German-made. Germany, he reiterated, will support Ukraine “for as long as necessary”. “Ukraine is defending itself with great success and impressive courage”, continued the chancellor, underlining how the efforts put in place by associated with the response of Kiev’s international allies, have led to Russia having already “completely failed to achieve its imperialist goals”.

USA – The United States is preparing to announce in the coming days one of the largest military aid packages sent to Ukraine so far, which however would not include the advanced tanks requested by Kiev. This is what CNN reports, citing two US military sources. Washington appears to be resisting the Ukrainian request which has instead been accepted by the United Kingdom and Poland. London has announced it will send 12 of its Challenger 2s, starting a new phase in the aid provided to Kiev and crossing what has so far appeared to be a red line for the United States and European allies.

POLAND – The President of Poland Andrzej Duda ”fears a new Russian offensive” and for this reason, speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, he underlined the need to send ”more weapons to Ukraine”, including ”tanks and modern missiles”. The Russians, Duda said, ”are still very strong and we fear they are preparing for a new offensive in a few months, so it is essential to send further support to Ukraine, especially modern tanks and modern missiles”.

BULGARIA – Bulgaria has been supporting Ukraine in secret by supplying 30% of the ammunition and 40% of the diesel used by the Kiev army in the spring. The former Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov and the former Finance Minister Assen Vassilev told Die Welt, together with the Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba.

At the time in government, Petkov acted in secret due to the pro-Russian sympathies of part of the Bulgarian political class, including the Socialist Party, his government ally. The deliveries started in April, after a visit by Kuleba to Sofia. Bulgaria had a lot of Soviet-era munitions and Petkov allowed several intermediaries to sell them to Kiev or other countries who then gave them to Ukraine. Many supplies were paid for by London or Washington. Even more secret was the shipment of the diesel, because the fuel was produced with Russian crude oil, processed at the refinery in the Bulgarian port of Burgas managed by the Russian company Lukoil. Again, Petkov used intermediaries, sending the diesel via Romania.

Only in December, after the Petkov government had fallen and new elections had taken place, did the Sofia parliament vote in favor of supplying arms to Kiev. But the political situation remains unstable and Bulgaria is likely to vote again in the spring, for the fifth time since April 2021. Meanwhile, since January, the Lukoil refinery has passed under total Bulgarian control.