Russian President Vladimir Putin has introduced a newer angle to Germany’s pledge of delivering battle tanks to Ukraine to assist the country in its war against Russia. While hosting the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Stalingrad’s conclusion, Putin said that 80 years later, Russia is again facing German tanks. Putin directed these words toward the events of World War II where Russia faced Germany ruled by Nazis and successfully conquered the country. This also suggests the mindset which Putin wants his armed forces to have as he has portrayed Ukranians as Nazis from the start of this war. Germany has pledged to send twelve Leopard 2 tanks to aid Ukraine in war. Russia has been criticizing Germany and NATO members for their involvement in the war. Thus, it was inevitable for Putin to have some comments during the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Stalingrad. He said that although it is unbelievable, it is true that Russia is once again facing the German tanks.
Although Germany will officially be supplying tanks to Ukraine, there are other countries such as the US and the UK, which have agreed to send their tanks to Ukraine. Thus, Putin referencing Germany particularly reflects the mindset of the Russian president while addressing the western support that Ukraine has managed to garner. The Battle of Stalingrad marks a remarkable victory for Russia against Germany led by the Nazis during World War II. Stalingrad, now referred to as Volgograd, is located on the Southern side of Russia. During World War II, the Soviet Union successfully fought against German armed forces, to hold control of the city. Russia managed to secure this victory by blocking the air support for German soldiers, thus forcing them to submit. This made a massive blow to the German forces on the Eastern side of the country, which Russians significantly capitalized on to defeat Germany and its allies during World War II.
Thus, Putin's reference to German tanks carries higher significance. During his speech, Putin also hinted at using other options regarding war weapons. He said that the countries which are hoping to defeat Russia in the war don't understand the fact that modern war with Russia will be different. He further said that while protecting its borders, Russia will not only rely on armored hardware, and everyone should take note of this. This seems as if Putin is hinting at the possible use of nuclear weapons if it comes to defending the Russian borders.
Another thing to notice here is Putin’s choice of choosing Stalingrad to acknowledge the rivals of his country. Stalingrad was named after former Russian leader Joseph Stalin, who is hated throughout Ukraine for his involvement in the Holodomor. The Holodomor is the word used by Ukrainians to refer to the genocide that occurred during 1932-33, which resulted in the deaths of over five million Ukrainians. Stalin was accused of being responsible for this massacre. On the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Stalingrad, the name of Volgograd was changed to Stalingrad for the day. Kyiv has yet to make any comments on these words from Putin.