More tanks for Ukraine
The Biden administration plans to send up to 50 M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, US officials said yesterday, in what would be a major step in arming Kyiv as it tries to retake its territory from Russia . It could take years for these tanks to reach Ukraine, but the announcement would pave the way for Germany and other countries to send their battle tanks.
The plan to send Abrams tanks comes after a heated confrontation last week at a meeting of NATO defense chiefs over German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s refusal to send Leopard tanks, which, according to many military experts, could be a decisive weapon in Ukraine. hands.
German officials privately insisted that the country would only send the tanks if the United States agreed to send its own M1 Abrams tanks. Publicly, US and German officials denied that the two issues were linked, but German media reported last night that Scholz had decided to send the tanks. The Chancellor will address Parliament today.
In other war news: Several top Ukrainian officials were fired yesterday amid a burgeoning corruption scandal, the biggest upheaval in the country’s government since the start of the Russian invasion 11 months ago.
Can Germany become a great military power again?
When Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, German military planners began to consider the sudden possibility of a major ground war in Europe – one that would require German soldiers to defend European territory. Those fears have become more acute, leading last year to the announcement of plans for the biggest increase in German military spending since World War II.
Prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, skepticism about the merits of military force had enabled a long process of post-Cold War disarmament in Germany. Today, German leaders are committed to transforming the country into a military power capable of assuming responsibility for Europe’s security. But German society, in which the country’s Nazi past weighs heavily, remains hesitant.
The fact that German soldiers were repeatedly implicated in high-profile cases of right-wing extremism did nothing to alleviate this unease. Russian propagandists were clearly trying to strike a chord when they responded to Germany’s current plans by suggesting the country was reverting to Nazism.
Background: Every recent U.S. administration has tried, and mostly failed, to get the Germans and other European allies to build up their armed forces and meet NATO’s defense spending target of 2% of product. gross domestic, a goal that Germany has not achieved for a long time.
California reeling from rising gun violence
The death toll from two mass shootings in California in the past few days has risen to at least 18 people. Those tragedies were just two in a string of shootings this month in a state that overall has some of the nation’s lowest death rates from gun violence, as well as some of its laws. the strictest on firearms.
In northern California, a 66-year-old man was in police custody following the shooting deaths of seven people on Monday. An eighth victim was hospitalized with gunshot wounds. Officials said the suspect, Zhao Chunli, was an employee at one of the shooting scenes. And in Southern California, investigators continued their search for a motive in Saturday night’s massacre at a ballroom dance hall in Monterey Park.
The cases, which surrounded the Lunar New Year celebration, claimed the lives largely of immigrant victims: older Asian Americans at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio and Asian and Latino farm workers around Half Moon Bay . The suspects in both shootings were immigrant Asian men in their 60s and 60s – a rare age range for assailants in mass shootings.
The context: Just over a week ago, in an attack authorities likened to a drug cartel-style execution, six people were gunned down in rural central California. And on Monday night, one person was killed and seven people were injured in a shooting in Oakland.
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Around the world
At the world’s most elusive surfing event, the Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational, local lifeguard Luke Shepardson beat the top pro surfers for the trophy.
“I have to get back to the tower,” said Shepardson, who picked up her award in her uniform, after a brief celebration. “I have to go back to the tower to make sure everyone is okay until the end of the day.”
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Gareth Bale will play in the PGA Tour event: Bale, 33, will play next month at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in California, just a month after retiring from professional football.
From the Times: Mikaela Shiffrin made skiing history with her 83rd career World Cup victory, the most by any female skier in the history of the sport. At the Australian Open, Ben Shelton and Tommy Paul faced off in the first all-American Grand Slam quarterfinal in 16 years.