Major Shift Happening in European Conflict - We're in a Situation Not Seen Since World War II
The conflict in eastern Europe is entering a phase unlike anything seen in nearly eight decades as a new shipment of powerful arms threatens to engulf the entire continent in war.
This major shift comes as Western nations announced their intent Wednesday to send armored contingents of main battle tanks to the Ukrainian military.
Although developed during the Cold War, this will be the modernized German Leopard and United States Abrams tank systems’ first chance to take a direct crack at the Russian military. Perhaps foreshadowing what may come, their intended battlefield is remarkably similar to where World War II entered one of its bloodiest phases.
With a frontline in roughly the same area of Europe where a part of Nazi Germany’s advance into the Soviet Union was stalled and ultimately reversed in a bloody fashion, the modern conflict in Ukraine may now serve as a flashpoint for a wider confrontation in Europe. And although the factions are no longer the same, the players here — Germany, the United States and Russia — are familiar to even the most casual observer of World War II.
The tank shipments are not the first military aid sent to Ukraine, but they are expected to be among the most consequential.
The eastern European republic has already received thousands of artillery systems, armored vehicles and rocket launchers from the United States alone. Other nations have also contributed substantial amounts of weaponry and money.
President Joe Biden, during his remarks announcing the newest transfer of powerful military hardware, downplayed what is now being moved into Ukraine.
“It is not an offensive threat to Russia,” Biden said, according to a White House transcript. “We are — there is no offensive threat to Russia.”
Russia may not agree to the characterization of the weapons systems as non-threats, and senior officials have already promised retaliation and escalation if the offensive weapons were to be thrown against the federation.
“Supplies of offensive weapons to the Kyiv regime would lead to a global catastrophe,” State Duma Chairman Vyacheslav Volodin said, according to the Associated Press.
“If Washington and NATO supply weapons that would be used for striking peaceful cities and making attempts to seize our territory as they threaten to do, it would trigger a retaliation with more powerful weapons.”
While Ukraine says any offensive against Russian-held territory would simply be reclaiming illegally-held land, it’s important to note that Russia considers the four regions — Donetsk, Lugansk, Kherson and Zaporozhye — to be under its own authority after a public referendum.
Western nations argue the vote was a sham, but Russia vows to hold their line to the bitter end.
Over the course of nearly a year the conflict has largely stagnated, even taking the form of static trench warfare in some places.
What’s coming next promises to drastically change that across the board.
For the first time since the closing days of World War II, German and Russian tanks could soon get a chance to face one another in an active combat situation.
For all our sakes, let’s hope the escalation ends here.
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