Leopard 2: News of Germany’s agreement to send tanks to Ukraine

Leopard 2: News of Germany’s agreement to send tanks to Ukraine
Leopard 2: News of Germany’s agreement to send tanks to Ukraine
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January 24, 2023, 16:19 GMT

Last updated 55 minutes ago

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The German chancellor came under great pressure to allow the export of Leopard 2 tanks to Kyiv

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has agreed to send Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine to support it in its war with Russia, according to media reports.

Since the Leopard 2 is manufactured in Germany, export laws dictate that any country wishing to send tanks to a third country must obtain permission from Berlin.

Germany has been reluctant to send those tanks, of its own, or to allow other countries to do the same, because one of its fears is that any sudden move could lead to further escalation of the conflict with Russia.

After international pressure, Scholz decided to send at least 14 Leopard 2 tanks, according to German media.

And the German newspaper “Der Spiegel” published this news at the beginning, quoting government sources, before it was apparently confirmed by another source.

No official statement has been issued by the German government so far in this regard.

Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal reported that the United States may send a large number of M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, adding that an announcement is likely this week.

Following this news, the director of the Ukrainian President’s office, Andriy Yermak, called on Western countries to give Kyiv hundreds of tanks to form an “crushing fist” against Russia.

“Tanks are one of the pillars of restoring Ukraine’s borders to what they were in 1991,” he wrote on Telegram after reports emerged that Germany had agreed to send tanks.

The Polish Prime Minister had called on Germany to allow his country to export 14 Leopard 2 combat tanks to Ukraine.

Maestus Moravicki told the BBC, earlier on Tuesday, that Germany bore a “special responsibility”, having contributed to Russia’s accumulation of “huge funds” before the war by buying Russian gas.

Ukraine sees the tanks as necessary to break through the Russian lines and fend off an expected attack.

Morawiecki said he would give Germany a week or two to make a decision, but would send the tanks no matter what Berlin says.

“We will do that, whatever the decision is. But we want to follow the procedures required of us,” he said.

He also emphasized that Germany should send some of its own Leopard 2 tanks, as he said it had 350 operational Leopard tanks and 200 in stock.

He asked, “Why are they kept in storage?”

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky believes that about 300 Leopard tanks will help his country defeat Russia.

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The German government told the BBC that it had received a request from Poland to export 14 German-made tanks to Ukraine on Tuesday.

The Leopard 2 tanks were specifically designed to compete with the Russian T-9 tanks used in the invasion.

In an interview with the BBC, Morawiecki said urgent action from Germany was “extremely important”.

“That is why we have spoken with our German partners, not to procrastinate or to delay, but only to take courageous decisions,” he said.

He added, “Germany played a major role in Russia’s mobilization of huge funds for this war by buying Russian gas and trading with Russia for a long time. Now there is a special responsibility on Germany’s shoulders.”

The Polish Prime Minister had earlier accused Germany of “procrastination, prevarication and behaving in a way that is difficult to understand.”

Morawiecki said Poland was “about to send” another 50 to 60 tanks to Ukraine.

He did not say what type of tanks they were, but he may have been referring to more Soviet-era tanks.

Poland has already sent about 250 T-72 tanks to Ukraine.

German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said on Tuesday that Berlin had given allied countries the green light to train Ukrainians to use Leopard 2 tanks, but had not committed to sending its tanks.

He added that a decision on the supply of tanks will be taken soon, noting that any decision taken will be at the political level.

“We encourage our partners if they want to, if they have the opportunity, to start training Ukrainian forces on these Leopard tanks,” Pistorius said at a press conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

And the Allied countries were frustrated by what they see as Germany’s reluctance to send these armored vehicles in recent days.

Speaking on Tuesday, Poland’s defense minister, Mariusz Blaszczak, said he had appealed to Germany “to join the coalition of countries that support Ukraine with Leopard 2 tanks”.

He added, “This is our common cause, because the security of all of Europe is at stake.”

But Pistorius defended German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, in the face of criticism that he was dragging his feet.

“Taking the initiative does not mean moving forward blindly. If the decision takes another day or two, this is the way it is,” he said.

It is noteworthy that Britain pledged to send 14 Challenger tanks to Ukraine, and France is considering sending some of its “Leclerc” combat tanks.

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