U.S. and Canada Both Announce New Tank Shipments to Ukraine – As Germany finally buckles to international pressure and announces that 14 Leopard 2 A6 will be sent from its own tank stocks to Ukraine, both the United States and Canada have also announced the shipment of advanced tanks to the country.
What Is the U.S. Sending to Ukraine
Politico reported on Thursday, January 26 that sources familiar with negotiations said that 31 of the tanks on their way to Ukraine from the United States will not be fitted with the most modern – and secret – armor. The tanks will, however, be the M1A2 configuration of the Abrams tank, which means Ukrainian soldiers will benefit from improved optics and controls over the original A1 model.
The A2 also has a redesigned commander’s weapon station that is designed to make targeting more accurate and also includes a thermal viewer so the tank operator can see in all weather conditions.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz revealed that the decision to send tanks was made following long discussions with the United States, with an agreement in place only if the United States were to make the same decision.
“This is the result of intensive consultations, once again, with our allies and international partners,” Scholz said.
Scholz said that it was important that Germany was not “driven” into making the decision.
Canada’s Tank Plans
Canadian Defense Minister Anita Anand confirmed on Thursday that Canada will send four Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine. The German-built tanks in possession by Canada may be sent to Ukraine now that Germany has granted permission for them to be re-exported to Ukraine.
“This donation, combined with the contributions of allies and partners, will significantly help the Armed Forces of Ukraine,” Anand told reporters during a press conference in Ottawa.
How Did Russia Respond
In a statement published online, the Russian Embassy in Berlin slammed Germany’s decision as “extremely dangerous” and warned that sending tanks to Ukraine will “take the conflict to a new level of confrontation.”
It’s exactly the kind of response that the West was scared of, though words like these were likely fully expected by both the German and United States government.
The question now is whether Russia will follow through on threats to implicate the West in the war in a more direct way or even follow through on threats to deploy tactical nuclear weapons if the tanks pose an “existential threat” to Russia as a nation.
Jack Buckby is 19FortyFive’s Breaking News Editor. He is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.