Russian President Vladimir Putin attends an annual meeting of the Defense Ministry Board of Directors in Moscow, Russia, December 21, 2022.

Sergei Fadeichev | Sputnik | Reuters

Russia has expressed growing anger at the prospect of modern Western tanks being sent to Ukraine, calling it “extremely dangerous” and saying previous “red lines” are now a thing of the past.

Germany announced earlier Wednesday that it was ready to send 14 Leopard 2 main battle tanks to Ukraine and allow other countries to send their own German-made tanks to Kyiv. The US is also expected to announce its own intention to send Abrams tanks to Ukraine shortly.

Ukraine’s deployment of modern Western tanks is likely to add momentum to its efforts to drive Russian forces out of the country’s occupied territories, particularly the eastern Donbass region, but Russia sees the gift of tanks as further evidence that the West is fighting what it sees in Ukraine as a proxy war against it.

‘Extremely Dangerous’

The Russian embassy in Berlin called the German government’s decision “extremely dangerous” and said it “raises the conflict to a new level of confrontation”.

In a statement onlineTranslated by Google, the embassy explained that the step “contradicts the statements made by German politicians about the unwillingness of the Federal Republic of Germany [Federal Republic of Germany] to be pulled in [the war]. Unfortunately, that happens all the time.”

The embassy is now convinced that Germany and its closest allies are “not interested in a diplomatic solution to the Ukraine crisis” but are “prepared for its permanent escalation and unlimited pumping out of the Kiev regime with increasingly deadly weapons”.

Finally, it warned that “red lines” or borders for either side are now “a thing of the past,” echoing similar comments by Russia’s foreign ministry on Wednesday, responding to the prospect of US Abrams tanks being sent to Ukraine. Claiming that Washington had “unmistakably stated its desire to inflict a strategic defeat on Russia.”

A spokesman for the German government was not immediately available for comment when asked by CNBC.

“There is a hybrid war going on against our country, Secretary of State [Sergey] Lavrov spoke about this at length only recently. Arguing about the red lines is a thing of the past,” This was announced by the Foreign Ministry of the state news agency Tassin Google translated comments.

“The United States has unequivocally stated its desire to inflict a strategic defeat on Russia. It’s impossible not to notice the reality,” the ministry added, Tass reported.

After the German tank decision, all eyes are on the US to see if they will announce their readiness to send a number of their own Abrams tanks to Ukraine. Three senior US officials said NBC News on Tuesday that the Biden administration is preparing to send a few dozen Abrams tanks to Ukraine, although they stressed the decision was not final.

Germany was reportedly reluctant to send its own tanks unless the US did the same, and a defense summit in Germany last Friday failed to reach agreement on tanks, with the US remaining non-binding on sending Abrams. But the German turnaround also signals a change of heart in Washington.

Even without an announcement from the White House, Russia’s ambassador to the United States, Anatoly Antonov, has criticized the prospect of US tanks in Ukraine, describing the move as “another blatant provocation against the Russian Federation.”

“If the United States decides to supply tanks, it will be impossible to justify that move with ‘defensive weapons’ arguments.” he said on Telegram on Wednesdayand added that American tanks would be “destroyed”. [just like] all other samples of NATO military equipment.”

“Absurd” and a “Failure”

Russia has repeatedly warned the West against sending tanks to Ukraine, saying they are a legitimate target for Russian forces, like other NATO weapons, and pushing any prospect of talks to end the war to an even more distant one bring opportunity.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said at a media briefing on Wednesday that “all we can say now is that there are currently no prospects of going down the diplomatic route.”

“Unfortunately, we are seeing many expressions of conviction from a number of politicians, a number of experts, the military, etc., who believe that the security of the continent can be ensured by continuing the war. It’s an absurd belief,” Peskov said in comments translated by NBC News.

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Asked about the possibility of sending US Abrams to Ukraine, Peskov told reporters: “I’m sure that even many experts understand the absurdity of this idea. Importantly, it’s a clear overestimate of the potential it has.” will add to the armed forces of Ukraine,” he said.

“But we already said that these tanks would burn up just like any other,” said Peskov. Russia is furious with West’s decision to send tanks to Ukraine