US, Germany, NATO differ on arms supply to Ukraine - GulfToday

US, Germany, NATO differ on arms supply to Ukraine


Countries like Germany and France do not want NATO to be dragged directly into the war.

Ukraine wants more weapons, including planes to fight off Russia nearly a year after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the “special military operations” against Kyiv. Last week, Ukraine’s European and American allies agreed to supply tanks to Ukraine – the Leopard 2 tanks of Germany and the M1 Abrams tanks from the United States – but it will be months before the tanks can reach Ukraine and they are deployed on the battlefront.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has asked the West for fighter jets to counter the renewed Russian offensive in the eastern parts of the country. The fortunes of the war have been fluctuating in the east. Russia had made advances and occupied key positions, but the Ukrainian forces clawed their way back and recaptured some of the lost positions. But they have not been able to advance further. The Russians are closing in at many of the places. Hence the sense of urgency on the part of President Zelensky to thwart the Russian surge.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz struck a strong note of caution on the supply of weapons to Ukraine in his interview with Der Tagesspiegel, published on Sunday. He said, “I can only advise against entering into a constant competition to outbid each other when it comes to weapons systems.” He ruled out the supply of jet fighters. Like French President Emmanuel Macron, the German Chancellor too is keen on keeping the communication channels open with Putin. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg strongly urged South Korea to supply arms to Ukraine. He said, “I urge the Republic of Korea to continue and to step up on the specific issue of military support. If we don’t want autocracy and tyranny to win, then they (Ukrainians) need weapons.” This is the first time that NATO is reaching out to countries in Far East Asia.

Countries like Germany and France do not want NATO to be dragged directly into the war because that would only increase the dangers to European security to a much higher level. The West, including the United States, would want to arm Ukraine enough to keep the Russians at bay and it would not want to arm Ukraine to be able to launch an offensive against Russia. And that would be a difficult position for Ukraine to maintain. It cannot wage a continuous war of survival against Russia and pay a heavy price in terms of people and territory so that Russia does not threaten Europe too closely. Ukraine is demanding more support in terms of finance and arms from the West because it believes that it is fighting the West’s war against Russia. And this is indeed true in many ways.

The war is getting complicated in terms of international ramifications because the drones used by Russia to launch suicide attacks were supplied by Iran. So, when a drone factor was attacked and destroyed, and it is believed to have been destroyed by Israel though Israel has not owned responsibility for it, then it can be seen that the war is spreading beyond Europe. Iran is seen as an indirect ally of Russia, and Israel is seen to be supporting Ukraine like other countries in the West.  But Israel has not yet declared its open support for Ukraine against Russia.

The Biden Administration seems to be conscious of the unintended ramifications of the Russia-Ukraine war, and it is claiming that the supply of M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine is not an offensive act against Russia. The Americans are willing to support Ukraine through supply money and arms, NATO is keen to drum up support for Ukraine beyond Europe because it senses the danger of Russia gaining more than a foothold in Europe, and France and Germany are keen that there should be some way of ending the war and negotiating with Russia.

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