Tanks for Kiev, Trench Warfare: Decisions of the Russia-Ukraine Conflict

Yoselina Guevara
German Leopard 2 tank.

Finally the German government gave in to pressure from the United States and its allies and will send its Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine. Chancellor Olaf Scholz, announced it in a speech before the Bundestag: “We must make it clear that we are doing everything necessary and possible to support Ukraine” adding paradoxically, “but at the same time we want to prevent the war from degenerating into a confrontation between Russia and NATO countries”. The decision marks a change of course from the caution of recent weeks and is inextricably linked to the U.S. initiative to consign M1 Abrams tanks to Kiev.

The tank deployment, long called for by Zelensky supposedly to turn the tide of a conflict now in its eleventh month, has been the subject of an impasse that has risked undermining the cohesion of the Atlantic Alliance. However, it remains to be seen whether its deployment can constitute a real turning point in the outcome of the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
US M1 Abrams tank.

More political than military decision

For its part, the Pentagon has been decidedly opposed to sending Abrams tanks on the grounds that they would not be suitable for the theater of operations, given their high fuel consumption and the related logistical difficulties for their deployments. This leads us to think that the decision was more political than military in the sense of having been an agreement between Washington and Berlin, so as not to expose Germany directly and in the front line against Russia. It is clear that the United States is achieving the geopolitical goals it has been working on for years, one of which George Friedman described in 2015: to break the relationship between Germany and Russia.

Likewise the dispatch of the tanks will conclude the reigning disagreement among NATO allies that threatened to create fractures within NATO. The pressure from some Eastern European states, in particular Poland, which threatened to send its inventory of Leopard tanks to Kiev as part of its army even without Berlin’s consent, was a major contributory factor. Although Germany’s sales contracts as a manufacturer include a veto right from Berlin if a country that has bought them wants to cede them to a third state.
A hospital destroyed by Ukrainian troops using the US-supplied multiple rocket launcher HIMARS (High Mobility Artillery Rocket System)in Novoaidar, Luhansk People’s Republic, killing 14 people and injuring 24 others, the Russian Defence Ministry said on January 28.

Dialogue off the horizon

What there is no doubt about is that the dialogue between Russia and the United States has completely deteriorated, and we are referring to Washington as the interlocutor recognized by Moscow. According to different analysts, before Christmas 2022 there was a chance that the Americans would reach an agreement with the Russians. But for the Kremlin both Crimea and the territories annexed under referendum, are a purely security issue on which they do not intend to yield. On this point, US President Joe Biden has also had a substantial change and has gone from advising the Ukrainians not to attack the Russian territories, to affirming that Crimea will sooner or later have to return to Kiev, and therefore may come within the radius of action of military attacks by Ukraine.

As things stand, any prediction is uncertain, the only thing we can say is that it will obviously be a long conflict, comparable to the First World War. In the latter, in a first phase, the “war of positions or trenches” was formed, as in Ukraine, establishing fronts and immobilizing the troops in wide trench lines, which even included populated territories; in the case of the world war conflict, the war fronts extended for hundreds of kilometers, from the North Sea to Switzerland. From there one passes to a phase of “war of attrition”, when remaining so long in deplorable conditions inside trenches, the armies are weakened physically and morally, the logistic operations become difficult, the human losses under the action of the artillery can be considerable.

Pax vobiscum

On the other hand, the emissaries, Emmanuel Macron and Recep Tayyp Erdogan, seem to be giving up their pacifying intentions. Paris is facing a very difficult situation with the main trade unions for the first time united against the pension reform proposed by the Macron government, which is announcing new demonstrations all over France by the end of January. Erdogan must prepare for complex electoral elections in May 2023 that will decide his permanence in the presidential chair in which he has been sitting for more than two decades and to whose elections he arrives with 85% inflation and a notable decline in his popularity.

This leads us to think of China, the Asian giant could be an interlocutor that could lead to peace, but in the eleven months of the conflict it has not shown any intention of entering into negotiations; perhaps because geopolitically the weakening of the United States and Russia could be favorable for Beijing. The hope for world peace may pass into the hands of Xi Jinping, so far the rulers of the West have shown that they have lost their sense of sanity, leading their nations into the abyss of economic and social crises, allowing themselves to be commanded by the stars and stripes on the other side of the Atlantic.

Yoselina Guevara López: social communicator, political analyst, columnist in different international media, whose work has been translated into English, Italian, Greek and Swedish. Winner of the Simón Bolívar 2022 National Journalism Award (Venezuela), special mention Opinion; Aníbal Nazoa 2021 National Journalism Award (Venezuela); I Historical Memory Contest Comandante Feliciano 2022 (El Salvador) Third place.

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