Update(1412ET): The Biden administration has said it will send 30 M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, in a significant breakthrough and escalation after weeks of debate, as well as division over the issue within the NATO alliance.
Politico's national security correspondents Alex Ward and Hans von der Burchard are further reporting that with the US ready to pull the trigger, Scholz's Germany has followed by approving Leopard 2 main battle tanks. Germany is planning to send 14 of its Leopard 2 A6 tanks to Ukrainian forces.
Scholz's decision was made possible after Biden agreed to send U.S. Abrams tanks as well. In the end, seems like the Chancellor prevailed with his insistence that both Germany and the U.S. must send modern Western tanks:https://t.co/JFpCYmfOvW— Hans von der Burchard (@vonderburchard) January 24, 2023
Ominously, this comes on the very same day that the war in Ukraine has pushed the Doomsday Clock to its closest point to midnight in history, as The Hill details:
Russia’s war in Ukraine has significantly raised the risk of global self-annihilation, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists warned Tuesday, moving forward the Doomsday Clock to its closest point to midnight ever.
The Doomsday Clock is meant to measure the gravest risks to human existence to pressure world leaders to recommit to addressing extinction-level challenges, such as the threat of nuclear weapon use, but has grown to include the dangers of climate change and biological risks such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
The clock has moved to 90 seconds before midnight, 10 seconds closer than when it was last set in January 2022, shortly before Russia launched its invasion against Ukraine on Feb. 24.
The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists has moved the Doomsday Clock to 90 seconds to midnight, the closest it has ever been, primarily because of the NATO-Russia proxy war being fought in Ukraine. pic.twitter.com/L8ImrfpZty— MintPress News (@MintPressNews) January 24, 2023
"It is now 90 second to midnight"...
The Doomsday Clock was moved to 90 seconds to midnight today, Jan. 24, the closest it's ever been.— USA TODAY Graphics (@usatgraphics) January 24, 2023
The Doomsday Clock is a decades-long project of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists featuring a clock face where midnight represents Armageddon. https://t.co/uG9vmchRXK pic.twitter.com/IFM1gmIjjT
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Now the US is "leaning" toward sending Ukraine its advanced Abrams M1 tanks, reports The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday. "The Biden administration is leaning toward sending a significant number of Abrams M1 tanks to Ukraine and an announcement of the deliveries could come this week, U.S. officials said," the report indicates.
At the moment, a reluctant German government is coming under immense pressure to allow its Leopard 2 main battle tanks to be transferred to Ukrainian forces. Poland is leading the way in this pressure campaign.
"The announcement would be part of a broader diplomatic understanding with Germany in which Berlin would agree to send a smaller number of its own Leopard 2 tanks and would also approve the delivery of more of the German-made tanks by Poland and other nations," WSJ continues. "It would settle a trans-Atlantic disagreement over the tanks that had threatened to open fissures as the war drags into the end of its first year."
Earlier this month Berlin signaled that would authorize the Leopards if Washington made the first move and took the initiative on sending the Abrams.
As of Tuesday the Polish government says it has formally submitted its request to Berlin to send the tanks. Germany by law must first authorize these transfers of its German-manufactured military items by other nations.
"The Germans have already received our request for consent to transfer Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine," Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Błaszczak confirmed on Tuesday. "I also appeal to the German side to join the coalition of countries supporting Ukraine with Leopard 2 tanks."
Despite prior signals that Berlin would not be approving the transfer anytime soon for stated reasons of wishing to avoid escalation with Russia, as predicted it looks as if Germany is weakening under pressure.
Bloomberg reports Tuesday that "Germany is expected to give Poland approval as soon as Wednesday to re-export its German-made Leopard tanks to Ukraine, according to people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified because the decision is private."
This despite repeat warnings from Russian officials this week that 'global catastrophe' could be unleashed if the West keeps pumping heavier weapons in the conflict, also amid nuclear escalation warnings.