Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Thursday January 26, 2023
Tank re-enforcements on their way to defend Ukraine
President Biden has announced he is sending American tanks to Ukraine after weeks of disagreement between Nato allies over helping Kyiv to repel the Russian invaders.
As the war in Ukraine enters its 12th month, Biden said the US would send 31 M1 Abrams tanks, equivalent to a Ukrainian tank battalion.
The announcement coincided with a U-turn by Olaf Scholz, the German chancellor, who promised about 14 Leopard 2A6 tanks for an international tank battalion “as soon as possible”, with another battalion likely to follow.
The Americans had been reluctant to send Abrams, arguing that they were too complex and difficult to maintain. It will be months before they arrive.
“Germany has really stepped up,” Biden said. “The expectation on the part of Russia is we’re going to break up [as a coalition]. But we are fully, totally and thoroughly united.”
The announcement came after a conference call between world leaders, including Rishi Sunak. Britain has already agreed to send 14 Challenger 2 tanks, a move that heralded the broader change of heart across the biggest players in Nato.
President Zelensky had called for 300 tanks to push the Russians back from territory they have taken. With contributions from other countries, it is believed Ukraine will receive at least 125. Yuriy Sak, an adviser to Ukraine’s defence minister, said last night that Kyiv would now press for modern fighter jets, including American F-16s.
After weeks of tension between the US and Germany, and occasionally harsh recriminations from other allies, both Scholz and Biden were at pains to stress western unity. Biden said the US and its European partners were in “lockstep” and heaped praise on his German counterpart.
The Ukrainian government reacted jubilantly to the German-American package, which Zelensky’s chief of staff hailed as a “real punching fist of democracy against autocracy from the bog”, in a reference to President Putin’s Russia. Zelensky said he was “sincerely grateful” for “these important and timely decisions”.
Moscow has alternated between condemnation and displays of indifference. Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin spokesman, recently said western tanks would “not fundamentally change anything” in the conflict and today said they would “burn like all the rest” in Ukraine.
Peskov then warned that the delivery of the tanks would “bring nothing good to the future relationship” between Berlin and Moscow.
Anatoly Antonov, the Russian ambassador to the US, added that a further donation of American Abrams tanks would be “another blatant provocation.” (The Times of London)
From sketch to finish, see the current way Graeme completes an editorial cartoon using an iPencil, the Procreate app, and a couple of cheats on an iPad Pro …