As the war in Ukraine nears the 11-month mark, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina is calling for an escalation of Western support for the embattled nation.
The current flashpoint revolves around Germany’s refusal to send German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, according to The New York Times, which noted that Germany’s reluctance is rooted in Germany’s post-Nazism desire to avoid enmeshing itself in war.
Germany’s refusal sparked some harsh words from Graham, who recently visited Ukraine with Democratic Sens. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, according to Business Insider.
“All three of us, one Republican and two Democrats, share the same goal — for Ukraine to drive the Russians out of Ukraine. To achieve that goal, the Ukrainian military needs tanks,” Graham said.
“I am tired of the s*** show surrounding who is going to send tanks and when are they going to send them. Putin is trying to rewrite the map of Europe by force of arms. World order is at stake,” Graham said.
“To the Germans: Send tanks to Ukraine because they need them. It is in your own national interest that Putin loses in Ukraine. To the Biden Administration: Send American tanks so that others will follow our lead,” Graham also wrote on Twitter, responding to the refusal of the Biden administration to send M1 Abrams tanks — America’s premier battlefield weapons — to Ukraine.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has said he will act after the U.S. sends its tanks, Business Insider noted.
Polish Foreign Minister Pawel Jablonski said Poland, which borders Ukraine, may act to loan its German-made tanks to Ukraine even if Germany does not give its required blessing, according to Reuters.
“I do not rule out that we are ready to take such a step. At the moment we are trying to make Germany not only agree these tanks being sent by Poland or other countries, but also to do so themselves,” he said.
As Germany is pressured to act, there are political crosscurrents afoot in the U.S.
On Sunday, Republican Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas, who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told ABC that sending just one Abrams tank might break the logjam.
“If we announced we were going to give Abrams tanks, just one … what I hear is that Germany is waiting for us to take the lead. Then they would put Leopard tanks in. And remember, there are about 10 countries that have Leopard tanks, but they need Germany to sign off,” he said.
But Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green of Georgia said Ukraine’s war is not America’s top priority.
“Why aren’t you calling for tanks at America’s southern border while our country is invaded everyday and Americans are being murdered in record numbers by Chinese fentanyl from the Cartels? We serve the American people, who pay for the tanks and our salaries, not Zelenskyy,” Greene tweeted in a jab at Graham.
Blumenthal said action is essential, according to Reuters.
“The Russians are on the verge of a major counter-offensive that will be as barbaric and inhumane as all they have done,” he said, adding the Ukraine’s allies must “stop the confusion and the chaotic debate about who sends tanks and when.”
Do you think we should send tanks to Ukraine?
“We should not send American troops to Ukraine, but we should provide Ukraine with whatever we would give our troops if they were fighting on the ground,” Blumenthal said.
“America has the historic opportunity to continue to aid Ukraine on its path to victory. The equipment we’ve provided has been used effectively and powerfully. So ingeniously and inventively in fact that Ukrainians are outperforming every prediction. As we approach the anniversary of this war, America must provide Ukraine with the military equipment, tanks, long range artillery, Patriot missiles and more that they need,” Blumenthal said, according to Newsweek.
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