Nearly one year into a war of unprecedented death and destruction in the modern century, the fate of Ukraine still hangs in the balance. From almost complete domination by Russian forces in the early months of the invasion to a sweeping counteroffensive retaking much of the formerly occupied territory, the war in Ukraine has consistently remained in the headlines. But now, this war is entering a new phase, a stalemate between Russia and Ukraine which will only draw out the conflict, and the catastrophe it has left in its wake. This is not a small, regional conflict; it is a global war between a ruthless dictator and a people fighting for their very survival, and it is our job to support them in any way possible.
Last month, in a meeting with Western allies, President Volodymr Zelensky asked for more offensive weapons including tanks, to break the attacking Russian forces and end the war as soon as possible, stating “Hundreds of thank yous are not hundreds of tanks.” Western countries have been supporting Ukraine throughout the war. The U.S. has been at the forefront of this effort, sending some of its most advanced weapons like the Patriot air defense system, which, according to Tom Karako, director of the Missile Defense Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), is “one of the most widely operated and reliable and proven air missile defense systems out there.“ After a $2.5 billion spending package passed a few weeks ago, U.S. officials have announced that the country has now sent over 26 billion dollars in aid to Ukraine. Support like this has greatly increased Ukraine’s ability to defend itself, but now that might not be enough anymore. Many countries had hesitated up until this point to send tanks to Ukraine out of fear of angering Russia and sparking an all out war which could have nuclear consequences. In response to this, President Zelensky singled out Germany and its particular resistance to give permission to other countries and its own military to send its Leopard 2 tanks, which are widely considered as some of the best in the world.
Due to the ever increasing stakes of the war and demand from Ukrainian officials, the German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and President Joe Bide have announced together that they plan on sending German-made Leopard 2s and the U.S.’s own formidable M1 Abrams. Although this comes as a highly controversial move by both nations, Biden says the tanks would only serve to “enhance Ukraine’s capacity to defend its territory and achieve its strategic objectives,”and that “This is not an offensive threat to Russia. There is no offensive threat to Russia if Russian troops return to Russia, where they belong.” The U.S. and Germany are not alone in their continued support as many countries have followed their lead and bolstered their own support for Ukraine.
With its many ups and downs, the war in Ukraine is far from over. President Vladmir Putin is willing to sacrifice his people and the people of Ukraine in the pursuit of conquest, but by pledging Western tanks to the Ukrainian military, their forces now have a chance to halt the ever-encroaching Russian forces and drive Putin out of Ukrainian land. It does not end here, however. Western nations, as countries free from immediate war, must step in and do what is right to end this conflict as soon as possible not only to stop the suffering of the Ukrainian people but to stop the spread of evil throughout the world.