For the First Time in Nearly Eight Decades German and Russian Tanks Will Face Each Other in Europe

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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.

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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.

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