The real danger when Germany delivers Leopard 2 to Ukraine

By Dagmar Henn

In recent days, the debate has intensified that Germany should deliver Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine. The topic comes up in all sorts of discussion rounds: when Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht appears at the German Society for Foreign Relations, and also in the interview of Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz with the Deutschlandfunk. The mainstream media is unmistakably pushing in this direction, and the argument put forward by the federal government against it is:

“Only together with our partners.”

What the representatives of the federal government, whether Scholz or Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, do not say, and what the mainstream press does not ask, is why it is so important to them not to supply such tanks alone. Nor do they explain why the Russian reaction to the idea of ​​supplying modern main battle tanks is anything but friendly. The reason is technical, and its consequence is direct participation in the war.

A Leopard 2 has a crew of four: commander, gunner, loader, driver. None of these tasks can be accomplished on the fly; The training period for the team alone is at least half a year. For a commander of such a tank, it is even longer. That has consequences. The training of a Ukrainian Leopard 2 commander should have started last year.

Even that cannot be completely ruled out, but it probably could not have been kept secret and would be solid evidence of NATO’s responsibility for the conflict. But if that is not the case, then there is only one possibility – for these tanks to be able to fulfill a function at all within a shorter period of time: at least the commander must be provided.

There are already similar assumptions regarding the HIMARS guns, which are also more complicated devices; there is an observation that many Poles and British took part in the Ukrainian “offensive” near Izyum. There is even a recording from Izyum of several English speakers with US accents taking down a Russian flag from a building; and there is evidence that a number of British and Polish mercenaries were captured. Whether these statements are correct will be shown in the coming weeks, because they are likely to end up in court in the Donetsk People’s Republic just like their colleagues.

The most delicate point here is whether they are really mercenaries, or members of the regular armies of Poland and Great Britain who have been “on leave” to provide the personnel to operate tanks and guns.

And that is precisely the political reason for the trials of mercenaries that have taken place in Donetsk so far: their countries of origin could save them at any time if they admitted that they were in Ukraine on assignment. That would change their legal status from mercenaries, who are not protected under the Geneva Conventions, to combatants; but at the same time make the sending state a participant in the war. So far, public pressure to rescue the prisoners has not been high enough in any of the countries to force this step.

But that’s a matter of numbers. If it is no longer about three defendants, but about a dozen or even a hundred, the reaction in their home countries is likely to become louder. The game of beefing up Ukraine’s armed forces in a sort of “condoned illegality” is unmistakably time-limited.

The more complex the technical device in question, the less likely it is that any former professional soldier will play the mercenary in a credible way. The mercenaries accused so far were not specialists, and are more likely to have been working in Ukraine on behalf of MI6, for example. Could the Bundeswehr hide a handful of tank commanders on leave? If they perish on their “vacation”? In the age of social networks, that is hardly to be expected.

So it’s not just about supplying tanks. It is about direct participation with the provision of personnel. And the reason why the federal government is hesitant at this point (aside from reducing the market value of this tank once a few pictures of burned-out examples circulate around the web) is its belief: if several countries took this risk at the same time, it would be less likely that a Russian reaction took place in the German direction.

Because, of course, these technical issues are well known to the Russian military. This information is not too difficult to find. The reactions in the Russian press to the Polish and British mercenaries were similar.

However, neither Poland nor Great Britain have the problem that Germany has. As is well known, there is still no German-Russian peace treaty. This means that as soon as the Russian side sees an action as German participation in the war – this cannot be repeated often enough – any kind of war action against Germany is legal. Because the last war is still in a state of truce, which would then be broken.

The threshold for a military reaction is therefore significantly lower compared to Germany; and a corresponding delivery from other countries would not change this fact. It would be a pretty foolish move to rely on nothing happening even then. The previous Russian reticence was based primarily on the need to convince the most important partners of this military operation. In the case of a German participation, this restraint should not be necessary. In contrast to German politics, many countries have not yet forgotten the Second World War.

Even the delivery of the Panzerhaubitze 2000 was a walk on a fine line. Politicians and the media must openly debate the delivery of the Leopard 2, naming all the consequences. Instead of showing a somehow unexplained hesitation on the one hand and constantly crowing for more weapons for Ukraine on the other. Whether or not Russia sees Germany as a participant in the war is ultimately a question that concerns everyone in the country. But it has already been said what great respect the representatives of this republic have for their subjects; Incidentally, throwing them into a war – without even allowing any perception of the possible consequences or even in any way recognizing the will of the population – would only correspond to their previous behavior. It used to be called “Management by Champignon”: leaving people in the dark, throwing crap at them, cutting off any head that sticks out…

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Source: RT

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J. A. Allen

Author, blogger, freelance writer. Hater of spiders. Drinker of wine. Mother of hellions.

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