I think less embarrass than give them an excuse. Apparently multiple countries have mostly committed to sending armor, but none is willing to go first due to political pressure and Russian threats of escalation against NATO.
There’s been a bit of a circle jerk about who breaks the seal, and the expectation seems to have been it would be the US. But given the scale, physical distance and Brexit. The UK makes a lot sense.
Also sanctions. To the extent they can with Russia holding a security council seat.
Assuming you’re being serious and have missed the details over the last year. This is military aid/lend lease. They’re shipping equipment to Ukraine for the Ukraine military to operate. Ukraine will own them.
Ukraine is short on old soviet and Russian made armor. Resupplying them on that front has been contentious.
Like most military aid to Ukraine this is running through NATO and individual supportive nations.
As @beschizza points out above: Britain has c. 200 tanks in total. Germany has c.1,000 of its MBT. For obvious reasons (even rump Britain after Scotland leaves will not be in danger of a land invasion by an armoured force). Russia has long said it would consider NATO mbts to be an act of NATO aggression. This is prodding them. They won’t declare war on NATO over this. They might if the US has waded in with 150 Abrams , or at least got a bit more pissed.
I see Poland as following suit very quickly, they have German permission. And Poland is afaik the largest per capita supplier of aid and refuge for Ukrainians.
Correct. What made the news this week was that Minister of Economic Affairs Robert Habeck, former co-chairman of the Greens, had no objections, but he is only one of the people involved in granting permission. Apparently the main opponent is chancellor Scholz himself.
Scholz seems determined to go down in history as, if not a bad guy exactly, but a hand-wringing, useless idiot. He’s also not helping with the rep of SPD, especially with all the damage Gerhard Schröder’s fawning on Putin and Russia has done to it.
May be mistaken for something that should be defused.
So, all that actually did happen then. Looks like the film A Bridge Too Far got it right then.
BTW: My dad and I (war buffs) have together watched that film more than a few times, although he refers to it as Faking a Foreign Accent Too Far. It seems he will never get over Gene Hackman’s stab at a Polish accent.
The real number is more like 250, many of which are actually not operational. But the Leopard 2 is a very popular main battle tank throughout Europe and many NATO countries would probably be able to spare some (Spain, for example, has about as many Leopard 2 tanks as Germany, and since the country is not under current threat of invasion from Portugal, France, or Andorra, sending a few dozen to Ukraine would be unlikely to jeopardise their national security overmuch).
There are also considerable numbers of Leopard 1 MBTs standing around on manufacturers’ lots in Germany; the Leopard 1 is less capable than the Leopard 2 but still not bad, and its weight at 45 (metric) tons is similar to that of the Soviet-era tanks mostly in use in Ukraine right now and as such more compatible with the roads and bridges there. Leopard 2s are a lot heavier (~65t) and that might be an issue in places. (Challengers, at 75 tons, incidentally are even heavier than Leopard 2s; all that nice thick armour comes at a cost. And the tea boiler, of course.)
Another reason why Ukrainians are keen on the Leopard 2 and not so much the American M1A2 Abrams tank is that the latter has a gas turbine which guzzles fuel like there’s no tomorrow, and usually runs on jet fuel rather than diesel like the Leopard (although it could use diesel), which might prove something of a logistics challenge. Nobody in Europe uses the Abrams (Poland is supposed to get some), so ensuring a steady supply of spare parts and maintenance facilities would also be more of an issue than with the Leopard 2.