Ramstein-8: a happy ending to an indecisive story or tanks of discord


On January 20, 2023, the eighth meeting of partner countries in the Ramstein format took place. Representatives of the defense departments of 50 countries agreed on another military aid package. Ukraine received many, but the most desired modern Leopard 2 tanks were not agreed upon during the meeting. However, common sense prevailed very quickly — we will get them too.


A package of military aid from partners

As a result of the meeting, it was agreed to provide Ukraine with air defendefencese equipment, modern armoured personnel carriers, SUVs, as well as helicopters. US Defense Minister Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley announced this in a joint briefing after the meeting.

The Challenger 2 is a third generation British main battle tank in service with the armies of the United Kingdom and Oman.

In the quantitative equivalent, the aid looks like this:

  • 8 Avenger air defence systems;
  • rockets of the NASAMS system;
  • 58 Bradley APCs;
    90 Stryker APCs;
  • 350 SUVs;
  • 19 howitzers;
  • thousands of artillery shells;
  • SAM MIM 104 Patriot;
  • helicopters;
  • 14 Challenger tanks

By the way, the Russian army, according to Lieutenant General Igor Konashenkov, is already actively destroying the Bradley APCs on the territory of Ukraine, which has not yet been delivered to the Armed Forces. This is what happens when official propaganda does not respect its fellow citizens in the slightest.

Oleh Zhdanov, military expert, reserve colonel of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Source: https://blogging.kiev.ua/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/92dc154730295656680dbd8ea758d9ae.jpg

But let’s go back to the promised help. According to military expert Oleg Zhdanov, the results are positive for us.

In the comment, the he noted:

«I believe that the results of Ramstein can be called positive. The fact that we receive weapons in large quantities is a great success. Further, it will be completely incorrect and incorrect to reduce these volumes. So, I am sure that the supply will come in brigade sets, as we are seeing now.»

Among the significant moments, the fact that African countries took part in Rammstein-8 attracts attention. Morocco and Tunisia were the first among their continent to agree to military aid to Ukraine.


Why didn’t they agree to provide the Abrams and Leopard 2 armed forces during Ramstein?

Representatives of the Ukrainian military-political command have repeatedly stated the need to supply heavily armored vehicles both to deter the aggressor and to further liberate the territories. Thus, in an interview with Sky News on January 27, 2023, President Volodymyr Zelensky noted that Ukraine needs 300-500 tanks for offensive operations, and also emphasized the importance of the timing of their delivery.

It is worth noting separately the position of Great Britain, which in the Ramstein-8 format agreed to provide Ukraine with its modern Challenger 2 tanks.

It is also worth noting the position of Germany but from a negative point of view. During Ramstein, the decision to transfer the long-awaited Leopard 2 tanks, which are the most common on the European continent, to Ukraine was not agreed upon.

According to Süddeutsche Zeitung, due to certain internal political contradictions in Germany regarding the supply of weapons to Ukraine, Chancellor Olaf Scholz set a condition for the United States: Leopard 2 will go to Ukraine only after the United States agrees to help in the form of its leading Abrams tanks.

German main battle tank Leopard 2a7v

The Pentagon said that Abrams is difficult to maintain and will not be very effective in Ukraine, so there is no point in handing them over. After that, an internal political debate broke out already in the United States. In particular, the chairman of the committee on foreign affairs of the US Congress, Michael McCaul, called for an agreement on the provision of Abrams to Ukraine as soon as possible.

It is worth noting that Michael McCaul is one of the most authoritative representatives of the Republican Party. We wrote here that Ukraine should not worry about the possible loss of bipartisan support in the US after the results of the midterm elections to Congress.

Actually, in a few days, the issue was actually resolved.


Difficult, but the only correct decision

Common sense still prevailed. Already on January 25, 2023, 5 days after Ramstein-8, US President Joe Biden announced in the White House that Ukraine would receive Abrams. After that, even Chancellor Scholz could not back down, he also agreed to provide Ukraine with Leopard 2. A number of European countries were ready to provide these tanks even before Ramstein, but only on the condition of agreement with the producing country, that is, Germany.

The M1 Abrams is a third-generation American main battle tank

In general, the result of complex negotiations between the allies looks like this:

For the sake of truth, it is worth noting that the American Abrams will most likely end up in Ukraine soon enough. This, in particular, was stated by Victoria Nuland. According to the US Deputy Secretary of State, this is due to the complexity of their transportation.

At the same time, according to The Washington Post, the reason is different. The tanks that are currently in service in the USA will not be sent to Ukraine at all. At the same time, Abrams for the Ukrainian Armed Forces will be built without protection from depleted uranium. This was the main motivation of the United States not to transfer these tanks — so that Russia could not learn the unique technology of creating uranium armor. According to the publication, such a modification of Abrams may end up in Ukraine at the end of 2023.



Ukraine received another large aid package from partners within the framework of the Ramstein platform. At the same time, we still observe certain hesitations of individual Western leaders regarding the supply of all necessary weapons to Ukraine. But domestic diplomacy also works in the sweat of the brow.

So, we look forward to Ramstein-9, during which decisions can be agreed on providing Ukraine with modern military aircraft and long-range missiles. The estimated time of the next meeting of the defense departments is the second half of February 2023.

Kostyantyn Grechany

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