Plans from the United States and Germany to arm Ukraine with tanks were met as “blatant provocation” from Russian media that once again raised the specter of nuclear war, invoking images of “flat, slightly radioactive, melted-down ground.”
One month shy of a full year at war between Russia and Ukraine there still appears to be no end in sight. Now the United States appears primed to make an announcement that it will be sending as many as 30 M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, despite previous reticence because it will clear a political path for Germany to make a similar, and more readily operational, contribution of 14 Leopard 2 tanks, according to The New York Times.
Preempting an official announcement, Russian outlets stoked the flames of escalation as a means of deterrence, going so far as to suggest nuking the Bundestag, Germany’s parliament. In a video shared by the Daily Mail, Yevegny Satanovsky, president of the Moscow Institute of the Middle East recently suggested that any aggression from Germany should be viewed in light of WWII and how the Soviet Union dealt with the Nazis.
“German tanks with crosses on their armor will again march across Ukraine attacking Russian soldiers,” he said, adding, “I have a natural reaction to this — the Soviet Union bombed Berlin in 1941.”
“And to me, this is a signal that the Reichstag, or Bundestag, which now replaces the Reichstag, simply should not remain standing any longer,” Satanovsky continued, suggesting the use of nukes to replace the structure with, “Flat, slightly radioactive, melted-down ground.”
He wasn’t alone in his provocative language as Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov suggested the additions to the Ukrainian military will be no match for their forces. “I am certain that many experts understand the absurdity of this idea. The plan is disastrous in terms of technology,” he said in reaction to reports of NATO allies sending in tanks. “But above all, it overestimates the potential it will add to the Ukrainian army. These tanks will burn just like all the others.”
Additionally, Russian television anchor Vladimir Solovyov invoked the Nazi imagery as he weighed in on the plan for tanks saying, “It’s time to send a clear, resolute message that we now consider Germany a direct party to the conflict, rekindling memories of WWII.”
“German tanks appearing will definitely mean we consider German territory, military bases and other sites as legitimate targets,” he went on before suggesting that allies across Europe are continuing to engage in war indirectly to keep their own hands clean. “NATO wants to fight in this cunning way, pretending that it’s not fighting. In your dreams!
Meanwhile, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has stated of the likely move, “This decision follows our well-known line of supporting Ukraine to the best of our ability. We are acting in a closely coordinated manner internationally.”
German law requires that they approve the deployment of weapons of war like tanks and since many European countries utilize the German-built Leopards, their decision to arm Ukraine as such will open the door for others to make similar moves. On Tuesday, Poland had already formally requested permission to send some of its own Leopard tanks to Ukraine.
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