Ukraine has long lobbied for more powerful weapons, such as tanks, but Western countries have been reluctant due to concerns about getting sucked into the conflict or aggravating Russia. According to Stoltenberg, “the recent commitments for heavy military weaponry are significant, and I anticipate more in the near future.” The remarks were made in advance of this week’s meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group at the German air base of Ramstein, which oversees military shipments to Kiev. Since the invasion, the Ukrainians have gained strength, and Western countries have increased the kind of armaments they are supplying. The allies are being pressed harder, nevertheless, to accept the supply of combat tanks. On Saturday, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak promised to provide 14 Challenger 2 tanks to Ukraine, making his nation the first Western nation to send the heavy tanks Kyiv had requested. By attacking Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to Stoltenberg, erred. He exaggerated the power of his own military. The Russians, meanwhile, “have shown that they are willing to endure enormous losses in order to achieve their aims.” The conflict is now at a turning point, according to Stoltenberg. Therefore, it’s crucial that we provide Ukraine the tools it needs to triumph.
Heavy armaments, including as tanks, have long been demanded by Kiev, but Western countries have been hesitant due to concerns about being sucked into the conflict or aggravating Russia. Chancellor Olaf Scholz and his coalition government in Germany are under more strain now that Poland and Finland have also shown their willingness to supply Ukraine with Leopard 2 tanks built in Germany. For European allies, who have avoided openly arming Ukraine with heavy weaponry ever since Russia’s invasion started on February 24, 2022, the trend signals a potential larger shift. Following months of losses and stalemate, Russia’s defense ministry declared last week that it had “completed the liberation” of Soledar, a city near the transportation hub of Bakhmut in the eastern Donetsk region. This announcement came amid Russian claims of its first meaningful battlefield success. Hence it’s a new stage in the conflict in Ukraine with the Battle of Soledar.
Research Associate, Pakistan House