It wasn’t long before Russian officials began frothing and ranting about global conspiracies after Germany agreed to deliver its Leopard 2 main battle tanks to Ukraine on Wednesday.
After weeks of resistance, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced that the country, along with allies, would deliver 88 of the main battle tanks to Ukraine, effectively giving Kiev more firepower to launch new offensives. The Biden administration would also announce a deal to send 30 M1 Abrams tanks to the country.
The Russian embassy in Berlin was one of the first to leave the gate after the news broke – with a bizarre, if not deranged, look: “Berlin’s decision signifies the unequivocal refusal of the Federal Republic of Germany to accept historic responsibility towards our people. for the horrific, timeless crimes of Nazism,” Russian ambassador Sergei Nechayev said in a statement.
The statement continued that the tanks would also end “the post-war reconciliation between Russians and Germans” and “bring the conflict to a new level of confrontation.”
Kremlin mouthpiece Margarita Simonyan, RT’s editor-in-chief, joined Russian diplomats in offering far-fetched Nazi comparisons.
“After a flogging by Washington, Germany will send 14 tanks to Ukraine. Gas chamber deliveries are also expected closer to summer,” Simonyan tweeted.
TV propagandist Vladimir Solovyov called European leaders “Nazi bastards” and argued that the supply of Leopard tanks to Ukraine makes all of Germany a “legitimate” military target for Russia.
He claimed that Germany has “forgotten its historic guilt” and must pay for it.
Sergei Aksyonov, the Kremlin man in charge of occupied Crimea – one of the areas that the Ukrainian authorities may be using to take back the tanks – published the schematics of the German Leopard 2A4 tank on Telegram, he said.
“I am sure that everyone will be able to find more detailed information about the vulnerabilities of this … on their own, and the command will provide our fighters with everything necessary to destroy the descendants of the fascist ‘Tiger’ and ‘Panther’ [tanks used in WWII]Aksyonov wrote.
Pro-Kremlin pundits unanimously tied the knot (and racked their brains) in an attempt to prove a global Nazi conspiracy.
‘Tank conspiracy. 14 Challenger tanks will be supplied by Britain to the Armed Forces of Ukraine. And it was also announced that Germany will provide the armed forces of Ukraine with 14 Leopard tanks. Is this some kind of secret number they have, 14? It turns out yes. 14 is a secret fascist number,” wrote political analyst Sergei Markov, pointing out that 14 “is the number of words” in two slogans used decades ago by American neo-Nazi David Lane.
“So the number of Challenger and Leopard tanks is a secret message from the governments of Britain and Germany: ‘We know these tanks are for the Nazis,'” Markov said.
He did not explain how his “14” theory holds up in the face of various other countries sending very different numbers of tanks.
Is 30 – the number of Abrams tanks reportedly supplied by the US – also a ‘secret’ fascist number? The Kremlin has yet to confirm it, though Vladimir Putin’s spokesman on Wednesday branded the alleged deal for US tanks “absurd” and doomed to fail.
“This is a truly disastrous plan, and above all, this is a clear overestimation of the potential this will give to Ukraine’s armed forces,” spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, according to Russia’s Interfax news agency.
The Abrams tanks, he said, “will burn like all the others.”
Despite Peskov’s roar, some pro-Kremlin military bloggers seemed fully aware that the tanks could give Ukrainian forces a new competitive advantage on the battlefield.
“The ice has broken and NATO tanks are on their way to Ukraine. It seems that all the fighting over who would be the first to send them led to everyone sending them all at once,” a popular pro-war Telegram channel wrote.
Other prominent figures seemed to suggest that the decision to send tanks simply means that the rest of the world is not afraid enough of Russia.
“Russia’s foreign policy impotence must be compensated by military successes. Or the threat of military success. Or just a threat,” argued state television host Sergei Mardan.
‘Then why don’t you arrange a random visit to Estonia from a Russian tank squadron or a guided missile cruiser in the Gulf of Riga? Or a random flight from Kalibr [cruise missiles] all over Poland? Then we don’t even have to apologize, no one needs our apologies. We need local horror and the realization that Russia is inevitably close and stronger than ever.”