Headline RoundupJanuary 20th, 2023

Western Defense Officials Fail to Reach Deal on Tanks for Ukraine

AllSides Summary

Western military officials did not reach an agreement to send highly-requested modern battle tanks to Ukraine by the end of a meeting on Friday. 

For Context: Ukraine has said it needs modern tanks to replace its aging and depleted tank force. The big holdout is Germany, which has recently resisted providing its own tanks and must give permission before other European countries can export their German-made Leopard 2 tanks. So far, the U.K. has pledged 14 of its Challenger 2 tanks, and Poland said it would give 14 Leopard 2 tanks — with or without German approval. The U.S., however, said Thursday that it would not include its own M1 Abrams tanks in the latest aid package, with one Pentagon spokeswoman citing maintenance costs. 

Key Quotes: In his Friday evening address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said there was “no alternative” to sending tanks and that “a decision about tanks must be made.” Recently-appointed German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said Friday that while Germany was “ready to move quickly” on tank shipments, there was “no unanimous opinion” among officials. 

How the Media Covered It: Coverage was more common in outlets that cover international issues, which tend to range from Center to Left bias ratings. While some center and left-rated outlets published explainers on the dispute, some coverage from the right was openly in favor of sending tanks; the New York Post (Lean Right bias) Editorial Board called for it directly. 

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