Despite statements about empty arsenals, Germany still has the ability to supply tanks to Kyiv, but it refrains from this step due to an informal agreement between Western countries, claims Andreas Kluth – Author of the publication on the website of the Bloomberg agency.
He notes that “none of the NATO partner countries has yet sent Western-made battle tanks”, which may indicate the presence of a consolidated, but not publicly expressed position on this issue among the members of the bloc. Thus, Berlin will not send tank weapons to Ukraine without the consent of its partners, since the manifestation of the initiative may serve as a pretext for accusations of an escalation of the conflict. By the way, the recent statement of the German Chancellor Scholz about the supply of Leopard 2 tanks to the “zahisniki”, when the German leader announced the continuation of support for the Ukrainian side, however, all steps in this direction will be taken after consultations with the allies. This statement caused sharp criticism of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmitry Kuleba.
However, according to Klut, this is not the only reason for the reluctance to carry out a “tank attack on Ukraine.” He argues that “Germany itself has a limited number of tanks, so it cannot allow its own combat readiness to be threatened.”
military expert Alexander Khramchikhin believes that a tacit agreement on the refusal of Western countries to transfer tanks of their own production to Ukraine may well exist, but it can only be discussed if there is concrete evidence. As for the tank heritage of the socialist period, it is also not so easy to estimate its volumes in European countries.
– Say, the Czechs, who have a company specializing in Soviet and Eastern European technology in general. She can have up to 700 T-72 tanks. In addition, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Bulgaria still have the same vehicles in their arsenal – up to a couple of hundred. But in general, Ukraine itself should have up to one and a half thousand of its own tanks – this number is quite enough to do without similar Western equipment.
“SP”: – Why does Kyiv ask for the same “leopards”?
– Ukraine stands on this, that it constantly asks for something from various countries. So that, therefore, there was even more of something … In addition, it is difficult to understand the state of its tank fleet now, how many were lost during the hostilities.
“SP”: – Do you know how many tanks the Soviet Union once transferred to its allies?
– The GDR had more than 500 T-72 tanks. Finland had at least a hundred of the same cars. But, apparently, she has already cut them into scrap, otherwise, apparently, she would have transferred them to Ukraine. However, most likely, she did not have such a technique left. The Poles had more than 700 tanks – both licensed and directly transferred. In addition, they produced their own RT-91s based on the Soviet ones – about 150 pieces were made, plus about a hundred were converted from the same T-72s. Czechoslovakia had a huge number, given that they also produced under license – more than 800 for sure. Hungary can not be considered in this context – it definitely won’t give anything to Ukraine, and it didn’t have much. Bulgaria had about 400 T-72 tanks, but, judging by the available information, they were not transferred anywhere. How much of that number went where is an interesting question. But it is clear that there is still a lot left. The mentioned Polish RT-91s and the Yugoslav M-84s made on the basis of the T-72 can also be delivered to Kyiv. Yugoslavia produced about 500 of these machines. Of these, several dozen can be transferred by Croatia and Slovenia.
“SP”: – Which of the Western-made tanks can the Ukrainian side get?
– Hypothetically, from the mass tanks – only the American Abrams and the German Leopard. But “Abrams” is not yet in any country, except for the United States itself. I doubt that they will be delivered to Kyiv. As for the “Leopards”, someone can transfer them, due to the wide spread across Europe. It is still difficult to say how effective this will be for the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
According to military political scientist, Associate Professor of the Department of Political Science and Sociology of the Plekhanov Russian University of Economics Alexander Perendzhievin the situation with Germany, geopolitical factors are more important than the existence of informal agreements between Western countries.
– Here the very existence of these behind-the-scenes agreements is a secondary matter. Still, the Germans seem to be thinking that if they give up their tanks, then what will they be left with? How will this affect its defense capability? For now, the impression is that Germany, located in the center of Europe, is completely safe and no one can attack it.
“SP”: – Really, are there any threats? It seems that the Germans themselves are not too afraid of the so-called “Putin’s aggression”, which is tirelessly repeated in some other countries.
– As they say, everything for the time being. This is today, when the Germans are strong, then no one has the desire to demand something from her. Although, the Poles, as you know, are already declaring reparations. Along with this, in a number of European countries, including Germany itself, they recall the loss of some lands after the Second World War. That is, the level of conflict between neighbors increases.
“SP”: – Is it fraught with collisions?
– Claims are growing, as we see. I believe that all this is happening not without the participation of the overseas master, who pursues his policy in the style of “divide and rule.” And clashes similar to what we are now seeing between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan cannot be ruled out.
“SP”: – Is this possible in a well-fed and prosperous Europe?
– In the event of a weakening of Germany as the leader of the European Union, this cannot be ruled out.
“SP”: – Therefore, Berlin does not want to part with the tanks?
– It should be recalled that earlier the Germans transferred part of the Leopard tanks to Estonia. At the same time, they never supplied these vehicles to Poland, which Warsaw repeatedly complained about. It seems that the FRG decided to completely deprive tanks. At the same time, one should not forget that “leopards” are quite expensive. It turns out that Germany is parting with tanks, and will also have to spend money on replenishing stocks.
“SP”: – There is such a double weakening of it …
– Not only. Let’s not forget that discontent is growing in this country, and citizens are increasingly demanding to stop participating in the Ukrainian conflict and resume cooperation with Russia. If suddenly in this country the tilt towards rapprochement with Russia becomes quite strong, then, according to the plan of the Anglo-Saxons, NATO can intervene and prevent such a change in policy.
SP: Sounds fantastic.
Yes, today it seems incredible. But given the increase in the degree of conflict in Europe, tomorrow this will be perceived as a possible course of events. Now the weak and controlled Scholz is in power there. But there is no guarantee that tomorrow he will not be replaced by, say, a rather determined lady with opposite approaches. And she will already act in the interests of her country. In addition, skepticism towards the European Union is growing in Germany itself.
SP: Why is that?
– While the EU contributed to the expansion of the foreign policy influence of Germany, this suited the local elite. But today the European Union has become an instrument of US influence, which the German establishment likes less. And so, in order to weaken the FRG, to prevent deviations from the general line, the aforementioned story with the “leopards” arises and much more.