Germany’s move to deliver Leopard 2 to Kiev will lead to ‘permanent escalation’, says the Russian embassy in Berlin.
Moscow strongly condemned Berlin’s move to supply Ukraine with battle tanks and accused Germany of abandoning its “historic responsibility towards Russia” stemming from Nazi atrocities in World War II.
The Russian embassy in Germany said on Wednesday that the decision to send 14 German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Kyiv and to allow allies to re-export the same models will worsen the war in Ukraine to a new level and lead to “permanent escalation”.
“This extremely dangerous decision raises the conflict to a new level of confrontation and contradicts the statements of German politicians about the unwillingness of the Federal Republic of Germany to be drawn into it,” said Ambassador Sergey Nechayev.
“This destroys the remnants of mutual trust, causes irreparable damage to the already poor state of Russian-German relations and casts doubt on the possibility of their normalization in the foreseeable future.”
For months, Kyiv has sought Western tanks, arguing they are desperately needed to give troops the firepower and mobility to break through Russian defense lines and retake occupied territory in the east and south.
Moscow has repeatedly said the Western-supplied tanks will “burn” and rejected suggestions they would affect the outcome of the 11-month conflict, warning they would only prolong Ukraine’s suffering.
Germany’s move is expected to pave the way for Poland, Finland and a number of other European countries to offer Ukraine tanks from their own Leopard 2 stocks.
“With the approval of the leadership of Germany, battle tanks with German crosses will be sent to the ‘Eastern Front’ again, which will inevitably lead to the death of not only Russian soldiers, but also the civilian population,” said Nechaev.
The United Kingdom has already pledged to deliver 14 of its Challenger 2 main battle tanks to Kiev, while the United States is poised to reverse course and supply Ukraine with more than 30 of its own M1 Abrams.