Russia fears that Ukraine could be planning to launch strikes on Russian soil anytime soon according to local Moscow media reports on Friday.
On Friday, reports emerged that another likely Pantsir-S1 system had been spotted 10 kilometers from President Vladimir Putin’s official residence in Novo-Ogaryovo outside Moscow this month.
Pantsir-S1 is an air defense system designed to protect against a variety of weapons including aircraft and ballistic and cruise missiles.
They follow sightings of S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems at a national park and a testing ground in north and northeastern Moscow.
Security analyst Michael Horowitz said on Twitter that Russia could be concerned about “Ukrainian attacks against Moscow” or wanted to play up the threat of Ukrainian attacks.
Anti-aircraft missile systems have been spotted across Moscow this week amid concerns over Ukraine’s ability to strike deep within Russian territory.
Videos and photos circulating online Thursday showed what appeared to be a Pantsir-S1 surface-to-air system being installed on top of an administrative building and the Defense Ministry headquarters in central Moscow.
Ukraine is repeatedly begging its western allies for more weapons to amass enough fire power and push out the invading Russian troops.
Sweden is sending the world’s best howitzer.
Poland, one of Ukraine’s most outspoken supporters, is sending S-60 anti-aircraft cannon – a mostly obsolete World War II era weapon.
Despite the flow of weaponry into Ukraine, two key categories of arms that have been top priority asks from the Ukrainian government since early days of the Russian invasion are still practically absent: long-range missiles and the NATO-standard, German made, Leopard 2 main battle tanks.
Without these weapons, Kyiv officials have said repeatedly that Ukraine’s chances of conducting swift offenses to eject Russian troops from its territory will be slowed down; worse, at risk of suffering higher casualties.
There are more than 1,600 Leopard 2 tanks in European army inventories. Some operators, led by Poland and Finland, have been outspoken about their willingness to hand over the diesel-powered tanks to help Ukraine fight off Russia’s troops from its own soil.
The current obstacle is Berlin, which holds an effective veto on transfers of Leopards to third party nations.
Furthermore, Germany’s government, led by the left-leaning SPD, has dragged its feet since the war’s outset on sending Ukraine any weapons that might be construed as usable in an offensive capacity.
In short according to the SPD, sending Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine is “complicated”.
President Volodymyr Zelensky was caustic in comments on the Leopard 2 saga to Germany’s ARD television broadcaster on Jan. 19.
“Listen guys, you [Germany’s political leadership] are adults, of course you’ve been saying for the last half year, you’re ‘checking the influence’ [of sending tanks to Ukraine], but every day [Ukrainian] people are dying,” Zelensky said.
“If the possibility exists, well, then transfer them. Transfer them. We’re not attacking. If someone is worried, Leopards wouldn’t go into the territory of the Russian Federation (RF). We’re defending ourselves.”
Germany’s new Defense Minister Boris Pretorius (an SPD appointee) in afternoon comments at the Ramstein Conference delivered Berlin’s latest rejection, saying that members of the Ukraine support coalition meeting to discuss military aid to Ukraine were “in disagreement” on whether the time is right to ship the Munich-manufactured Leopard 2 to Kyiv.
The upshot is that no German tanks will be sent to Ukraine for the time being. This has left the AFU armed, as it has been in the past, with several hundred Soviet-era tanks inferior to Russia’s tank fleet which number in the thousands.