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War in Ukraine | Canada is toying with the idea of ​​sending Leopards

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Canada is more than ever ready to send German-made Leopard tanks to Ukraine, as requested by Kyiv. But before confirming its intentions, the Trudeau government is trying to rally as many allies as possible to this move, which could mark a new escalation in Russia’s war in Ukraine.

What there is to know

  • Ottawa is willing to send German-made Leopard heavy tanks to Ukraine and is seeking to rally as many countries as possible in this endeavor.
  • Poland has announced that it is ready to send 14 Leopard tanks to Ukraine, without Berlin’s agreement.
  • Kyiv demands 300 heavy tanks from its western allies.
  • A pro-Russian separatist leader appeared in Soledar, whose capture Moscow claimed on January 13.

Canada is keen to ensure that this initiative does not involve only a limited number of countries. Currently, Poland is leading the charge with the German government to get the necessary green light from them to send these tanks to Ukrainian soil.

Poland is ready to send 14 Leopards and is in discussions with about fifteen countries on this subject. In all, about twenty countries use these tanks, including Canada, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway, Australia and Sweden.

For now, Ottawa has not asked Berlin for permission to ship its Leopard 2s to Ukraine – Canada has 112 in total, or 82 combat tanks and 30 engineering and recovery vehicles – according to what was said on Monday The Press a spokesperson for the German Embassy in Canada.

Kyiv’s request to send heavy tanks was discussed last Friday in Germany at the meeting of the Ukraine Defense Advisory Group.

“Canada is examining this request, in coordination with our allies and our partners,” said Daniel Minden, press attaché to the Minister of National Defense, Anita Anand, who attended the meeting on Monday.

Rally to Arm

But the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mélanie Joly, made it clear which brand she was staying at.

She is one of the hawks at the Cabinet table.

“To achieve a lasting peace, we must continue to arm Ukraine. It’s a bit of the paradox in which we find ourselves, but it’s really the approach that we take and that our allies also take, “insisted the head of Canadian diplomacy in a scrum on Monday, before attend the Cabinet’s three-day retreat in Hamilton, Ontario.


PHOTO NICK IWANYSHYN, THE CANADIAN PRESS

Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly at a press conference in Hamilton, Ontario

“We recently sent 200 armored vehicles to Ukraine. We also participated in the new anti-aircraft defense system. There is still a lot to do. And we will do more, ”she added in the same breath.

A government source who requested anonymity told The Press that Canada was stepping up its efforts with allied countries in order to convince as many people as possible to take part in this effort to support Ukraine before a new Russian offensive in the spring.

“It’s more of a diplomatic issue right now,” the source said.

Minister Joly confirmed that she had discussed this file with her German foreign affairs counterpart, Annalena Baerbock, over the past few hours.

“I had several conversations with representatives of the German government. It is very important that we agree among allies. This is why the conversations will continue. But you can have our confirmation that we will always do more to support Ukraine,” she said.

Berlin under pressure

Mme Joly made the remarks on the same day that Poland announced that it was ready to do without the backing of Germany, undecided on the issue, to deliver Leopard tanks to Ukraine, where Russian forces continue to claim small advances on the ground.

The German government appeared divided on the issue of the delivery of Leopard heavy tanks, and Chancellor Olaf Scholz, so far evasive, found himself under ever increasing pressure on Monday.

Especially since Minister Baerbock ruled the day before that Germany was prepared to authorize, in accordance with the legislation in force, Warsaw to supply these armored vehicles to Kyiv.

Warsaw wants to move forward, Kyiv wants more

“We will ask for such an agreement [à Berlin], but it is a secondary question”, reacted Monday the Polish Prime Minister, Mateusz Morawiecki. “Even if we don’t get their agreement [des Allemands]we will give our tanks to Ukraine as part of a small coalition”, including “if Germany is not part of it”.


STRINGER PHOTO, REUTERS ARCHIVES

This Ukrainian tank was towed on Friday, victim of a mechanical breakdown near the Bakhmout front. Kyiv is asking for hundreds of modern heavy tanks from its Western allies to counter the recent advance of the Russian army.

” We need […] of several hundred” tanks, for his part hammered the chief of staff of the Ukrainian presidency, Andriï Iermak, at a time when the Russians are on the offensive, in eastern Ukraine in particular.

On Monday, the day after Annalena Baerbock’s remarks on the delivery of Leopard tanks, Steffen Hebestreit, spokesperson for the German Chancellor, again clarified his position: “The Federal Government does not rule out the delivery of Leopard tanks, it hasn’t decided yet if he’s going to do it now. »

The fear of a military escalation with Moscow and Berlin’s reluctance to assume leadership in the Western camp lead, according to analysts, Germany to hesitate in relation to sending these weapons.

With Agence France-Presse



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