Germany Reverses Its Position On Sending Leopard 2 MBTs To Ukraine

The Germans caved to pressure from Kiev and its erstwhile NATO allies and has reversed its decision on sending Leopard 2 main battle tanks to Ukraine. Later today the United States is expected to announce it will be sending M-1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine. Chancellor Olaf Scholz informed the Bundestag of the decision earlier today and took a moment in his remarks to praise Germany’s relations with the United States. At the time this seemed rather peculiar, however, following the recent news about the US decision to send tanks it makes perfect sense. There was obviously a deal struck between Washington and Berlin behind the scenes at some point yesterday.

Details are limited, such as the number of tanks Germany will provide and when they will be shipped. They won’t arrive in the near future though. It will take some time to get the tanks prepared for action (assuming they are coming out of storage) and have Ukrainian tank crews trained to proficiency. The same goes for the Abrams tanks the US intends to send over. Since the start of the war NATO members have ruled out sending MBTs to Ukraine. Now that the taboo has been broken, it is safe to wonder if there will be any tanks left in Europe by this time next year. 😊

Kiev is certainly happy. Zelenskiy has once again had his demands met by the West, which has been tossing weapons and money into the conflict at a brisker pace lately. Zelenskiy’s reply to the German decision is undoubtedly a heartfelt ‘tanks a lot!’

There is some historical precedent to Germany’s move as well. After all, this won’t be the first time in the past 100 years that Ukraine has seen German-made tanks rolling through its towns and farmland to meet and do battle with the Russians.

US Military Warns Current Weapon Production Cannot Sustain Both Ukrainian AND US Needs

Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro has warned publicly that the US will not be able to continue providing weapon and material support for Ukraine unless weapons manufacturers increase production in the next six months. SecNav’s comments came in response to a reporter’s question about remarks made by Adm. Daryl Caudle, commander of U.S. Fleet Forces Command. Caudle had said the US could be forced to decide later this year whether to arm itself or Ukraine. Doing both might not be possible.

This was bound to happen sooner or later. In all likelihood the warnings have been on the radar of the White House and Pentagon for some time. Now the time is approaching when action must be taken. Del Toro stated the US is not to that point yet, but the supply chain will be stressed if the war in Ukraine lasts another six months. To be fair, the estimate should be more along the lines of 4 months in expectation of a possible major offensive by Russian forces in the spring.

The Pentagon has been pressuring defense contractors to increase production for some time now but the shortages continue and by recent accounts seem to be worsening. Let’s be fair. Keeping Ukraine supplied in wartime is a task that is causing problems and concerns on both sides of the Atlantic. A number of European nations have practically emptied their ammunition and weapons lockers and sent everything they could spare east. And then some. The flow of weapons and material to Ukraine has slowed, due in part at least to the reality that many European nations can’t afford to part with additional weapons, ammunition and other wartime materials.

Now US commanders and Pentagon officials are hinting that a similar situation could loom ahead for the US military. Not surprising in the least. But in the face of promises to assist Taiwan’s military buildup and the prospect of a clash with Chinese forces being accepted as possible, this is not the time for the US to contend with weapon delivery delays and such. At the end of the day, US national security trumps that of Ukraine.  

Ukraine Update: 28 November, 2022

Nine months into the war finds Ukraine’s allies struggling to keep Ukraine supplied with arms and ammunition. As a rule, expenditure of ammunition and material in a war will exceed pre-war estimates. Ukraine is a classic example of this, requiring an almost constant resupply from the West to keep its armies fighting. Both Russia and Ukraine are burning through ammo and material at a pace not seen in Europe since World War II.  This incessant demand for weapons, ammunition and other material is starting to wear down European, and even US supplies and war stocks. Armories in many NATO nations have been stripped of artillery, anti-tank missiles, ammunition and air defense missiles for Ukraine. There is dangerously little remaining in NATO stockpiles. Now, the West scrambles to continue supplying Ukraine while simultaneously replenishing its own stockpiles.

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As Russian missile attacks against Ukraine’s power facilities increases, the Ukrainian government is considering a limited evacuation of Kiev residents to other areas where services have not been disrupted. The Russian attacks have brought on power outages and the water supply in much of Kiev has been disrupted. Kiev’s mayor, former heavyweight boxer Vitaly Klitschko told the British Broadcasting Company, “This is a temporary relocation of certain categories of people to the suburbs, where there may be services.”

With damage caused by Russian attacks and winter weather setting in, the national power grid is going to be taxed immeasurably between December and late February in many areas of Ukraine. Emergency cut-offs of electricity will become more common as the days go by. It is almost assured that Ukraine will need assistance from abroad to prevent a collapse of its electrical grid.

Author’s Note: I apologize for the longer-than-expected delay. That bug was a little more resilient than expected. It would seem the end of 2022 is shaping up to be busy so I’m getting on the ball. China update tomorrow and then we’ll go from there.

Missile That Landed In Poland Was A Ukrainian SAM

After yesterday afternoon’s mass rush to judgment by many in the media regarding the missile that landed in Poland, this morning they are being forced to walk back their initial claims. As have a number of politicians and government officials in Ukraine, Poland and across Europe. The reason for this because the preliminary investigation has revealed the missile was not fired by the Russian military. It seems the missile was likely launched by Ukrainian air defense forces likely during a Russian cruise missile attack. Components of the missile, an SA-10 Grumble, came down near the Polish village of Przewodów and killed two Poles.

Both NATO and the Polish government said earlier there is no indication of a deliberate Russian attack. In Ukraine, the government in Kiev has amended its position on the matter. After vociferously blaming Russia for the act, government officials have become rather quiet and are requesting access to the site of the blast. In Brussels NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg also said there will be no Article 4 meeting until the investigations have been completed.

Yesterday’s incident caused anxiety and concern around the Western world. Since the start of the war in Ukraine the possibility of the fighting spilling across the border into the territory of a NATO member-state and widening the conflict has been a major concern from Washington to Brussels. The first reports from Poland made it appear as if NATO’s  greatest fear was coming to life. Luckily, as time went on it became clear this was not the case.

No Confirmation That Russian Missile Landed in Poland

It’s been a tension-filled afternoon and evening on NATO’s Eastern Flank after a Russian-made missile landed in Poland, a short distance away from the Ukrainian frontier. It did not take long for the media to assume the missile belonged to the Russian military. In the absence of facts, the media speculated, and soon the Polish government called an emergency meeting. Social media reports took over from here and it was not very long before World War III was trending on Twitter and other platforms this afternoon.

As it stands now, there has been no confirmation that the missiles were Russian, in spite of supposed remarks by a US ‘intelligence official’ that they were. The US government, as well as other Western allies are investigating but have not been able to confirm the cause of the explosion. Two Polish citizens were killed in the blast, however little beyond this is known for certain. Consultations are taking place across Europe this evening. Poland has invoked Article 4 and tomorrow NATO ambassadors will meet to discuss the matter in detail.

Russia has denied that any of its missiles had been targeted at any points in proximity to the Polish border. The incident did occur around the same time a heavy wave of Russian missiles struck power infrastructure targets around Ukraine, causing considerable damage.

As the night goes on, hopefully more solid information will become known. We’ll follow up with an update here late tomorrow morning.