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Germany agrees to provide Ukraine with advanced battle tanks – Crossroads Today

BERLIN (AP) — After weeks of hesitation that saw growing impatience among Germany’s allies, Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced Wednesday that his government would provide Ukraine with Leopard 2 battle tanks and approve requests by other countries to do the same.

In a statement, the government said it would initially provide Ukraine with one company of Leopard 2 A6 tanks, which comprises 14 vehicles, from its own stocks. The goal is for Germany and its allies to provide Ukraine with a total of two battalions, or 88 tanks.

Scholz said Germany was “acting in close coordination” with its allies.

The long-awaited decision came after U.S. officials said a preliminary agreement had been struck for the United States to send M1 Abrams tanks to help Kyiv push back Russian forces entrenched in the east almost a year since the start of the war.

Scholz had insisted that any move to provide Ukraine with powerful Leopard 2 tanks would need to be closely coordinated with Germany’s allies, chiefly the United States. By getting Washington to commit some of its own tanks Berlin hopes to spread the risk of any backlash from Russia.

Ekkehard Brose, head of the German military’s Federal Academy for Security Policy, said tying the United States into the decision was crucial, to avoid Europe facing a nuclear-armed Russia alone.

But he also noted the deeper historic significance of the decision.

“German-made tanks will face off against Russian tanks in Ukraine once more,” he said, adding that this was “not an easy thought” for Germany, which takes its responsibility for the horrors of World War II seriously.

“And yet it is the right decision,” Brose said, arguing that it was up to Western democracies to help Ukraine stop Russia’s military campaign.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov described German and U.S. intentions with the tanks as a “a rather disastrous plan.”

“I am convinced that many specialists understand the absurdity of this idea,” Peskov told reporters Wednesday.

“Simply because of technological aspects, this is a rather disastrous plan. The main thing is, this is a completely obvious overestimation of the potential (the supply of tanks) would add to the armed forces of Ukraine. It is yet another fallacy, a rather profound one,” the Kremlin official said.

Peskov predicted “these tanks will burn down just like all the other ones. … Except they cost a lot, and this will fall on the shoulders of European taxpayers.” he added.

Members of Scholz’s three-party coalition government welcomed the news ahead of the official announcement.

“The Leopard’s freed!” said German lawmaker Katrin Goering-Eckardt, a senior Green party lawmaker.

Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, a member of the Free Democratic Party who chairs the parliamentary defense committee, said the news was “a relief for a mistreated and brave Ukraine.”

“The decision to approve (other countries’ requests) and supply the Leopard 2 was arduous, but unavoidable,” she said.

Strack-Zimmermann had been one of the loudest voices calling for a swift decision on arms supplies to Ukraine.

Two smaller opposition parties criticized the move, however.

The far-right Alternative for Germany called the decision “irresponsible and dangerous.”

“Germany risks being drawn directly into the war as a result,” its co-leader, Tino Chrupalla, said. The party, known by its acronym AfD, has friendly ties to Russia.

The Left party, which also has historic links to Moscow, warned of a possible escalation in the conflict.

“The supply of Leopard battle tanks, which ends a further taboo, potentially takes us closer to a third world war than in the direction of peace in Europe,” the party’s parliamentary leader, Dietmar Bartsch, told German news agency dpa.

Recent opinion polls showed German voters split on the idea.

The pressure on Scholz mounted this week after Poland formally asked Germany to approve sending Leopard 2 tanks from Polish stocks to Ukraine.

Poland’s prime minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, accused Germany of “delaying, being evasive and acting in a way that is difficult to understand” when it came to supplying tanks, and went so far as to claim that Berlin appeared not to want to help Ukraine.

Other European nations have also indicated willingness to part with their own battle tanks as part of a larger coalition.

Germany news weekly Der Spiegel reported that Berlin could initially approve the supply of one tank company, comprising 14 vehicles.

But Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy made clear late Tuesday that he hoped to receive a more substantial number of tanks from western allies.

“It is not about five, or 10, or 15 tanks. The need is greater,” he said.


Follow AP’s coverage of the war in Ukraine: https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

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Ukraine war: 80 years on, we are facing German tanks again – Putin – BBC

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President Putin laid a wreath at the Mamayev Kurgan memorial complex in VolgogradImage source, Reuters

Vladimir Putin has compared Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to the fight against Nazi Germany, in a speech to mark the 80th anniversary of the conclusion of the Battle of Stalingrad.

Citing Germany’s decision to send Leopard tanks to Ukraine, he claimed history was repeating itself.

“It’s unbelievable but true,” he said. “We are again being threatened by German Leopard tanks.”

Germany is one of many countries helping Ukraine defend its territory.

Russia launched its bloody, full-scale invasion almost one year ago, prompting Western countries to send weapons and aid to the government in Kyiv.

Speaking in Volgograd – the modern name for Stalingrad – Mr Putin hinted that he could seek to move beyond conventional weapons.

“Those who hope to defeat Russia on the battlefield do not understand, it seems, that a modern war with Russia will be very different for them,” the 70-year-old leader said. “We are not sending our tanks to their borders, but we have the means to respond. It won’t be limited to the use of armoured hardware. Everyone must understand this.”

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov declined to elaborate on Mr Putin’s comments, but did tell reporters that “as new weapons are delivered by the collective West, Russia will make greater use of its potential to respond”.

Mr Putin was in Volgograd to mark the anniversary of the end of the Battle of Stalingrad, the World War Two conflict which saw the Soviet army capture nearly 91,000 German troops and turn the tide of the war.

Over a million people perished in the battle – the bloodiest of World War Two.

Throughout the war in Ukraine, Mr Putin has falsely sought to present Russia’s invasion as a battle against nationalists and Nazis – who he claims are leading the Kyiv government.

And he returned to the theme throughout his speech.

“Now, unfortunately, we see that the ideology of Nazism, already in its modern guise, in its modern manifestation, again creates direct threats to the security of our country,” he said.

“Again and again we have to repel the aggression of the collective West.”

But he vowed that while it was “unbelievable but true” that Russia was again being threatened by German tanks, Moscow had an answer for any country that threatened it.

Volgograd was temporarily renamed Stalingrad for the day to mark the occasion, and earlier this week a new bust of the former Soviet leader Joseph Stalin was unveiled.

Stalin – who led the Soviet Union between 1924 and his death in 1953 – was accused of orchestrating a famine in Ukraine between 1932-33.

The event – called the Holodomor by Ukrainians – killed an estimated 5 million people and was recognised as a genocide earlier this week in Bulgaria.

Mr Putin also laid flowers at the grave of the Soviet marshal who oversaw the defence of the city, and visited the main memorial complex where he led a moment of silence for those that died in the battle.

Meanwhile, thousands of Volgograd residents lined the city’s streets to watch a military parade.

As planes roared overhead, modern and World War Two-era tanks rolled along the centre of the city. Some of the modern vehicles were marked with the letter Z, which has become the symbol of Russia’s invasion.

Local media reported that regional Governor Andrey Bocharov – who accompanied Mr Putin to the memorial complex – was not at the parade. He had not been seen since 24 January, leading to speculation that he was isolating before meeting the president.

Elsewhere, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russia was preparing to take “revenge” against the West for aiding Ukraine.

“Now Russia is concentrating its forces. We all know that. It is preparing to try to take revenge, not only against Ukraine, but against a free Europe and the free world,” Mr Zelensky said in Kyiv.

Speaking alongside EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Mr Zelensky said Russia was “increasing the pace of adaptation to sanctions” and urged the EU leader to impose additional restrictions on the Russian economy.

Later, addressing the National Prayer Breakfast in the US via videolink, Mr Zelensky thanked President Biden for his support and set Ukrainian forces a goal of defeating the Russian invasion in the next year.

“We must do everything we can together so that next year – on the first Thursday of February – we will be able to pray simply with thanks for the obtained salvation from evil,” Mr Zelensky said.

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Putin invokes Stalingrad battle as justifying Ukraine fight – Crossroads Today

MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday marked the 80th anniversary of the World War II Soviet victory over Nazi German forces in the battle of Stalingrad, and invoked the long and grueling fight as justification for the conflict in Ukraine.

Putin laid a wreath at the eternal flame of the memorial complex to the fallen Red Army soldiers in Volgograd, the current name of the city, which stretches along the western bank of the Volga River. The memorial is dominated by an 279-foot sculpture of a sword-wielding woman, Europe’s tallest statue.



APTOPIX Russia Stalingrad Battle Anniversary

A giant statue of “Mother of the Homeland” is illuminated Wednesday atop the memorial site on Mamayev Hill for the 80th anniversary of the Soviet victory in the battle of Stalingrad in Volgograd, once known as Stalingrad, Russia.






Russia Stalingrad Battle Anniversary

People lay flowers at the Tomb Stalingrad during a wreath-laying ceremony Thursday at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier near the Kremlin Wall in Moscow as Russia marks the 80th anniversary of the Soviet victory in the battle of Stalingrad.






Russia Stalingrad Battle Anniversary

Communist’s party supporters with Red flags gather Thursday around the statue of Soviet Marshal Georgy Zhukov after a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier near the Kremlin Wall in Moscow as Russia marks the 80th anniversary of the Soviet victory in the battle of Stalingrad.




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Ukraine war: 80 years on, we are facing German tanks again – Putin – BBC

President Putin laid a wreath at the Mamayev Kurgan memorial complex in VolgogradReuters

Vladimir Putin has compared Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to the fight against Nazi Germany, in a speech to mark the 80th anniversary of the conclusion of the Battle of Stalingrad.

Citing Germany’s decision to send Leopard tanks to Ukraine, he claimed history was repeating itself.

“It’s unbelievable but true,” he said. “We are again being threatened by German Leopard tanks.”

Germany is one of many countries helping Ukraine defend its territory.

Russia launched its bloody, full-scale invasion almost one year ago, prompting Western countries to send weapons and aid to the government in Kyiv.

Speaking in Volgograd – the modern name for Stalingrad – Mr Putin hinted that he could seek to move beyond conventional weapons.

“Those who hope to defeat Russia on the battlefield do not understand, it seems, that a modern war with Russia will be very different for them,” the 70-year-old leader said. “We are not sending our tanks to their borders, but we have the means to respond. It won’t be limited to the use of armoured hardware. Everyone must understand this.”

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov declined to elaborate on Mr Putin’s comments, but did tell reporters that “as new weapons are delivered by the collective West, Russia will make greater use of its potential to respond”.

Mr Putin was in Volgograd to mark the anniversary of the end of the Battle of Stalingrad, the World War Two conflict which saw the Soviet army capture nearly 91,000 German troops and turn the tide of the war.

Over a million people perished in the battle – the bloodiest of World War Two.

Throughout the war in Ukraine, Mr Putin has falsely sought to present Russia’s invasion as a battle against nationalists and Nazis – who he claims are leading the Kyiv government.

And he returned to the theme throughout his speech.

“Now, unfortunately, we see that the ideology of Nazism, already in its modern guise, in its modern manifestation, again creates direct threats to the security of our country,” he said.

“Again and again we have to repel the aggression of the collective West.”

But he vowed that while it was “unbelievable but true” that Russia was again being threatened by German tanks, Moscow had an answer for any country that threatened it.

Volgograd was temporarily renamed Stalingrad for the day to mark the occasion, and earlier this week a new bust of the former Soviet leader Joseph Stalin was unveiled.

Stalin – who led the Soviet Union between 1924 and his death in 1953 – was accused of orchestrating a famine in Ukraine between 1932-33.

The event – called the Holodomor by Ukrainians – killed an estimated 5 million people and was recognised as a genocide earlier this week in Bulgaria.

Mr Putin also laid flowers at the grave of the Soviet marshal who oversaw the defence of the city, and visited the main memorial complex where he led a moment of silence for those that died in the battle.

Meanwhile, thousands of Volgograd residents lined the city’s streets to watch a military parade.

As planes roared overhead, modern and World War Two-era tanks rolled along the centre of the city. Some of the modern vehicles were marked with the letter Z, which has become the symbol of Russia’s invasion.

Local media reported that local Governor Andrey Bocharov – who accompanied Mr Putin to the memorial complex – was not at the parade. He had not been seen since 24 January, leading to speculation that he was isolating before meeting the president.

Elsewhere, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russia was preparing to take “revenge” against the West for aiding Ukraine.

“Now Russia is concentrating its forces. We all know that. It is preparing to try to take revenge, not only against Ukraine, but against a free Europe and the free world,” Mr Zelensky said in Kyiv.

Speaking alongside EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Mr Zelensky said Russia was “increasing the pace of adaptation to sanctions” and urged the EU leader to impose additional restrictions on the Russian economy.

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