Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Ukraine War Lands Europe’s Leaders in a Battle of Wills; US lawmakers call for Giving Ukraine Abrams Tanks to Ensure Delivery of Leopards; Ukraine Repels Limited Russian Offensives in Zaporizhzhia Oblast; ISW: UKR's Bakhmut Defence is "strategically sound" Effort, LIVE UPDATES and MORE

Photo: Ronny Hartmann/AFP/Getty Images
WSJ: Ukraine War Lands Europe’s Leaders in a Battle of Wills:
Europe is winning its energy war with Russia. The region’s economy and politics are proving more stable than its leaders feared earlier in their confrontation with Moscow. Now the question facing them is whether they want Ukraine to win the shooting war.
The rift between Germany and many of its North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies, including the U.S., over whether to supply Kyiv with German-made Leopard 2 tanks reflects continuing differences among Western leaders over the stakes and risks of Russia’s war on Ukraine.
Military experts disagree on how essential the Leopard 2 tanks are for Ukrainian troops, but the tanks have become a political symbol for whether Europe is willing to back Ukraine enough to win.
Germany’s cautious approach to arming Kyiv, reflecting both domestic politics and a fear of Russian nuclear escalation, is coming under pressure from countries in Northern and Eastern Europe that feel a greater sense of urgency as Russia and Ukraine both prepare for expected offensives after winter. Some countries also are worried that Europe is counting too much on continued U.S. support for Ukraine, which could succumb to shifting sands in U.S. domestic politics unless Ukraine can achieve a breakthrough.
While Congress has already authorized a massive funding package for this year, Republican opposition to further billions for Kyiv could complicate further military aid beyond that—and next year’s presidential election might lead to a change in policy. That helps explain the drive by the U.K., Poland and others to accelerate Europe’s military contribution. Germany’s insistence on waiting for the U.S. to send Abrams main battle tanks before it releases Leopards also has irritated France, which has long argued Europe needs to do more for its own security.
Only harsh battlefield reality will show whether the flow of Western arms and ammunition, including billions of dollars’ worth of weapons pledged at Friday’s meeting of defense officials at the U.S.’s Ramstein Air Base in Germany, is enough to hold off Russia’s next big push or allow Ukraine to take back more of its territory.
What is clear is that Europe’s leaders have won economic and political breathing space to agree on a more decisive strategy, if they want one. --->READ MORE HERE
US lawmakers call for giving Ukraine Abrams tanks to ensure delivery of Leopards:
Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, on Jan. 22 called for giving Ukraine U.S.-made Abrams tanks as a way to push Germany to allow the delivery of German-made Leopard tanks to Ukraine.
There have been media reports that Germany would allow the delivery of Leopard tanks to Ukraine if the U.S. supplied Abrams tanks to Kyiv. However, the German government has denied making such a demand.
The U.S. has so far refused to supply Abrams tanks to Ukraine, while Germany has failed to make a decision on supplying Leopard tanks.
"If we announced we were going to give Abrams tanks, just one ... what I hear is that Germany is waiting for us to take the lead. Then they would put Leopard tanks in. And remember, there are about 10 countries that have Leopard tanks, but they need Germany to sign off," McCaul said in an interview with ABC News.
The U.S. official said that since “there’s gonna be a winter offensive by the Russians,” Ukraine needs “these tanks on the eastern flank in the Donbas.”
McCaul said that Ukraine also needs the ATACMS, the longer-range surface-to-surface missiles, in order to “hit Crimea where the Iranian drones are.”
Meanwhile, Democratic Senator Chris Coons told ABC that "if it requires our sending some Abrams tanks to unlock getting the Leopard tanks from Germany, from Poland, from other allies, I would support that." --->READ MORE HERE
Follow links below to +++++relevant+++++ and related stories:

+++++Russia-Ukraine News LATEST UPDATES: (REUTERS) (AP) (NY POST) and (WSJ)+++++

+++++Southern Command: Ukraine repels limited Russian offensives in Zaporizhzhia Oblast+++++

+++++Bakhmut defence is "strategically sound" effort – ISW+++++

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