James Snell

Germany has no excuse for not sending tanks to Ukraine

(Photo: Getty)

When a man is in a hole, he is best advised to stop digging. When a German chancellor is in a hole, by contrast, he seems to think it his duty to chide others for failing to dig their own. So it is with Olaf Scholz, Germany’s increasingly ridiculous chancellor.  

Scholz lost a defence minister and appointed an unknown quantity as her replacement mere days ago. That new defence minister, Boris Pistorius, will soon meet up to 50 Nato and allied defence ministers in Ramstein on Friday to coordinate supporting Ukraine. It’s a tough thing to do within your first week on the job. Especially when the chancellor and his officials seem intent on making your job harder. 

A brief step back. The consensus on arming Ukraine is moving very quickly in favour of more assistance. Major Russian spring and even winter offensives are being reported as likely by every intelligence agency. A new Russian wave of mobilisation may soon take place.

And Russia has pointedly attacked Ukrainian civilian targets with its scarce ballistic missiles in the last few weeks. The cries of those dying under the collapsed apartment block in Dnipro will be remembered by those who heard them for the rest of their lives.

Ukraine needs heavier vehicles and better weapons in order to bring this war to a swift and victorious conclusion. For a year it has demanded them and most Nato countries have twirled their hair around their fingers and claimed ignorance or incapability. 

But now the dial has moved. Britain was out of the gate first, announcing the sending of a squadron of Challenger 2 main battle tanks, with possibly more to come.  

The United States has still denied that it will supply its own workhorse, the Abrams, but it has suggested that Bradley infantry fighting vehicles – which are impressive and capable machines – will at some point in the coming year be on the way.

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