The news about it, that NATO now wants to deliver the first tanks from its own stocks to Ukraine, will once again be lamented as a "dam breach.". These deliveries are not exactly that. They are a logical step in a strategy, which the western war alliance has been pursuing since the Russian invasion: to test practically, what Russia can offer, without accepting the challenge from all of NATO.
There was before: old Soviet tanks from the stocks of former socialist countries, Panzer- and anti-aircraft missiles, while stocks lasted, drones, electronic warfare devices, light guns, heavy artillery, "Himars" rocket launcher, Anti-aircraft tanks from Germany ... Now real tanks too. Because the so-called reconnaissance tank "AMX-10" from France has a cannon of caliber 105 millimeters - so at least according to the German »Leopard I« battle tank.
The Washington Post pointed out an inherent limit to these deliveries on Wednesday: What the Biden administration calls “aspiration, to avoid an escalation", represent, is in fact a real technical and logistical problem: Die »Abrams«-Panzer, that Ukraine would like to have from the United States, are first with 52 tons that heavy, that no Ukrainian bridge can stand it; Especially the "Leopard" requested by Kyiv with his 62 metric tons. There's the French »AMX-10« too 20 tons of combat weight is the method of choice. Secondly, the »Abrams« are prone to failure, so you can't avoid it, to send its own maintenance staff to Ukraine. And third, they have fuel consumption, which clearly exceeds the possibilities of the country – where fuel is scarce anyway due to military needs and the destruction of most refineries. This means, to refuse the "Abrams" delivery, is not a sign of restraint, but these things would hardly be worth anything in the Ukraine at the moment.
Russia has played this game so far. who wondered, why civilian facilities have been shot at, but not, for example, the bridges over the San River on the border with Poland (there are altogether 14 from that, so a manageable number) or the first marshalling yards east of the border, to avoid the risk of a misguided hit on NATO territory, he has the answer here: Russia did not want to risk escalation.
She gets it anyway. Unless, it capitulates to NATO's claims, also to militarily control all of Eastern Europe, and renounces the rest of its own great power claim. Mikhail Gorbachev tried that; it's not good for Russia. When Vladimir Putin has internalized a lesson from the 1990s, then this one.