German tanks won’t help Ukraine, says Kremlin

European leaders meeting at the Ramstein U.S. Air Base in Germany urged Berlin on Friday to give the green light for the delivery of German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine

January 21, 2023 02:22 am | Updated 02:22 am IST - MOSCOW

Ukrainian servicemen ride atop a tank near the frontline town of Bakhmut, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Donetsk region, Ukraine on January 20, 2023.

Ukrainian servicemen ride atop a tank near the frontline town of Bakhmut, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Donetsk region, Ukraine on January 20, 2023. | Photo Credit: REUTERS

The Kremlin said on Friday that Western countries supplying additional tanks to Ukraine would not change the course of the conflict and the West would regret its "delusion" that Ukraine could win on the battlefield.

European leaders meeting at the Ramstein U.S. Air Base in Germany urged Berlin on Friday to give the green light for the delivery of German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine to drive back Moscow's forces, although no decision was made.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters: "We have repeatedly said that such supplies will not fundamentally change anything but will add problems for Ukraine and the Ukrainian people."

Asked whether the supply of increasingly advanced weapons to Ukraine meant the conflict was escalating, he said:

"We see a growing indirect and sometimes direct involvement of NATO countries in this conflict ...

"We see a devotion to the dramatic delusion that Ukraine can succeed on the battlefield. This is a dramatic delusion of the Western community that will more than once be cause for regret."

Commentators on Russian television took a similar line.

On the geopolitically-themed talk show "Kto Protiv?" (Who is Against?) on the flagship Russia 1 channel, host Dmitry Kulikov said the Ramstein meeting showed that the West was "deeply nervous" about its ability to defeat Russia.

He said efforts to do so would lead inevitably to "the complete destruction of Ukraine".

President Vladimir Putin discussed what Russia calls its "special military operation" with his Security Council, at a meeting where Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu reported back on a visit to operation headquarters, the Kremlin announced.

Mr. Peskov said the way to prevent escalation was to heed the strategic concerns that Russia expressed in late 2021, just before it began fighting.

Since then, Moscow has declared four Ukrainian provinces to be part of Russia. It says it had to act to protect Russian-speakers in eastern Ukraine from persecution, and to prevent an aggressive West using Ukraine to threaten Russia.

Kyiv and Western countries say these are baseless pretexts for an imperial-style land grab in Ukraine, which was once part of the Soviet Union until its break-up in 1991.

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