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Protests erupt in Berlin against government decision to send tanks to Ukraine

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
People in Berlin protest against government's decision to send heavy battle tanks to Ukraine. (Photo by Reuters)

People have staged a rally in Berlin to protest against the government's decision to send battle tanks to Kiev, and to denounce the United States as the utmost pusher of the war in Ukraine.

Demonstrators, who took to the streets on Friday, opposed the escalation of regional conflicts and called for a halt to equipping Ukraine with lethal arms.

Chanting slogans such as "stop escalating the conflict", "stop delivering weapons", and "withdraw from NATO", the protesters declared their opposition to the continuous military assistance of Germany and other NATO members and demanded a peaceful resolution of the conflict through diplomatic channels.

"We're here to protest Germany's provision of main battle tanks to Ukraine, because it escalates the conflict, exacerbates the tension, and entangles Germany to a greater extent," said protester Ulrich Kotek.

"We are deeply concerned and threatened, and we fear being drawn into war. We must never start another war," said another protester.

The development came after the German government decided on Wednesday to provide 14 of its Leopard 2 tanks to the Ukrainian government and gave the green light to other European countries as well.

Other allies, including Scandinavia, intend to go along with Germany in supplying their Leopard tanks to Kiev, Spiegel magazine reported.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz had allegedly opposed such military aid, but the German government finally changed its mind under increasing American pressure.

The decision by the US to send its M1 Abrams seems to have provided the political cover that Berlin had been seeking, according to The New York Times.

Many experts believe that the United States has turned Ukraine into a battleground to contain Russia, but such action has harmed Europe.

"The US made it very clear in the late 1990s that Ukraine was a key factor in containing Russia in Eurasia, and this is the purpose of the conflict. Ukraine has become a victim, and the US sacrificed us to satisfy its own interests, which is unacceptable to us," said protester Barbara.

Russia launched its "special military operation" against Ukraine in late February over the threat of the country's plans to join NATO.

Since then, the US and its Western allies have sent Kiev tens of billions of dollars worth of weapons, including rocket systems, drones, armored vehicles, tanks, and communication systems. Moscow has previously warned that the delivery of weapons to Kiev would prolong the war.

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