The United States and Germany’s plan to send more tanks to Ukraine has been met with backlash from Russia. According to Reuters, the U.S is set to announce the delivery of dozens of M1 Abrams battle tanks, while Germany has agreed to offer its Leopard 2 tanks after weeks of uncertainty.
Russian Ambassador to the U.S, Anatoly Antonov, has expressed his fury in a statement on the Russian Embassy to the U.S’ Telegram. He referred to the move as a “blatant provocation” and accused Washington and Berlin of purposely trying to inflict a strategic defeat on Russia. He also questioned the justification of calling the tanks “defensive weapons.”
The move to send tanks to Ukraine has been met with support from Ukrainian officials. Andriy Yermak, Ukrainian President Zelensky’s chief-of-staff, stated on Telegram that the tanks will become “a real punching fist of democracy against the autocracy from the bog.”
The Russian government has escalated its rhetoric in recent days, with Moscow’s foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, warning that Russia and the West are no longer in a “hybrid war” but almost a “real one.” Lavrov also blamed the U.S and other Ukraine allies for the lack of progress towards peace and accused the West of plotting a long-time war against Russia with the goal to destroy everything Russian in Ukraine.
Since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February, Putin’s men have suffered a number of setbacks. They have been forced to retreat from areas near Kharkiv and Kherson, and failed to take the capital Kyiv at the start of the conflict. Fighting in the east for the strategically important towns of Soledar and Bakhmut continues. Ukrainian intelligence warns that a “big Russian offensive” could be on the horizon as Russian troops are regrouping.