Russian officials reacted defiantly and angrily to the rapid succession of Wednesday’s announcements that Germany and the United States would send Western tanks to Ukraine.
Within hours of each other, Chancellor Olaf Scholz said that Germany would send a first shipment of 14 Leopard 2 . tanks and President Biden announced plans to send 31 tanks M1 Abrams. These moves are intended to unlock a flood of aid from the Western allies before the expected escalation in the spring or earlier.
Dmitri Peskov, Kremlin spokesman, said that providing America’s M1 Abrams and German Leopard 2 . tank for Kyiv would be a “losing plan” that would burden Europe if not to strengthen Ukraine’s military, follow tassRussia’s state news agency warned the tanks would “burn up”.
“They are very expensive and all this burden will be borne mainly by European taxpayers,” he said.
Similarly, a Russian legislator and former commander of the Russian Air Force, Viktor N. Bondarev, tell Tass that the tanks will not significantly affect the Russian campaign in Ukraine, but care must be taken to destroy them.
The Russian ambassadors to Germany and the United States have expressed a stronger position. Sergey Nechaev, ambassador to Germany, said in a statement Berlin’s decision is “very dangerous” and “brings the conflict to a new level of confrontation.”
Nechaev said the move showed Germany and its Western allies were not interested in a diplomatic solution to the war in Ukraine and were “intended for a long-term escalation”.
Anatoly Antonov, Russian Ambassador to the US, said: in a statement on Tuesday that the expected U.S. supply of tanks to Kyiv would be “another blatant provocation” against Russia and would signal a proxy war with his country.
President Biden noted such concerns in his announcement on Wednesday, saying the supply of tanks “doesn’t pose a threat of attack,” adding, “If the Russian military turns around, back to Russia, where they belong, this war will end today.”