Germany heads for showdown over tanks for Ukraine

Ukraine has upped its call for the West to finally send heavy tanks as the defence chiefs of the United States and Germany headed for a showdown over weapons Kyiv says could

decide the fate of the war. US defence secretary Lloyd Austin will be in Germany on Thursday and meet its new defence minister, a day before they host a meeting of dozens

of allies to pledge weapons for Ukraine. That meeting, at the US Ramstein air base in Germany, has been billed as a chance to provide the arms to shift the war’s momentum

in 2023. Top of the agenda is heavy tanks, which Kyiv says it needs to fend off a new Russian onslaught and launch counter-offensives to recapture its occupied

territory. “We have no time, the world does not have this time,” Andriy Yermak, head of the Ukrainian presidential administration, wrote on the Telegram messaging

app on Thursday. “The question of tanks for Ukraine must be closed as soon as possible,” he said. “We are paying for the slowness with the lives of our Ukrainian

people. It shouldn’t be like that.” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy made a similar plea by video link to leaders gathered at the World Economic Forum in Davos on

Wednesday, urging them to supply his country before Russia mounts its next missile and armoured ground attacks. “The supplies of Western tanks must outpace another invasion

of Russian tanks,” Zelenskyy said. But for the West to send tanks, Washington will have to resolve a standoff with Berlin, which has so far demurred from authorising

countries to send its Leopard 2 tanks, the workhorse of militaries across Europe.