Discussion is still going on regarding the file of German tanks that are supposed to be sent to help Ukraine to deter the Russian military operation from its territory.
After the long debate that ended last week, with the statement of the German Foreign Minister, Analina Berbock, that her country would not object to Poland sending German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, in the event that Warsaw decided to do so, media reports returned and revealed new things on the subject.
The German RND agency reported that the German military equipment company, “Rheinmetall”, can supply Ukraine with 139 Leopard tanks, if necessary.
It added that the company could deliver 29 Leopard 2A4 tanks by May or April, and another 22 tanks by the end of 2023 or early 2024.
As a representative of the company said, it could send another 88 Leopard 1 tanks to Kyiv, without specifying the date.
Germany backs down
These developments came days after an international pushback erupted following the announcement by German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius that the results of the meeting of the NATO contact group regarding support for Ukraine at Ramstein Air Base in Germany were unable to reach a unified opinion on the supply of tanks. German “Leopard” to Kyiv, stressing his country’s rejection of the move.
Poland warned that Germany would become isolated internationally unless it agreed to provide Ukraine with Leopard tanks, declaring its willingness to form a small coalition of countries to supply Kyiv with tanks without Germany’s participation.
In order to supply German-made tanks to Ukraine, countries need to obtain German permission to lift export restrictions.
In the face of international outrage, German Foreign Minister Analina Baerbock said last Sunday that Berlin would not object to Poland sending German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, if Warsaw decided to do so.
“At the moment, this question has not been asked, however if we are asked, we will not stand in the way,” Baerbock said in an interview with the French LCI channel, in response to a question about what would happen if Poland supplied Ukraine with Leopard 2 tanks without German approval.--
The Allies blame Berlin for her decision
Despite large arms shipments to Ukraine, the United States and Germany have not yet started sending Abrams and Leopard tanks to the Ukrainians, unlike Britain, which has allocated Challenger tanks.
Russia has previously sent a memorandum to NATO countries over the supply of weapons to Ukraine.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov indicated that any shipment containing weapons to Ukraine would become a legitimate target for Russian forces, stressing that “NATO” countries are playing with fire by supplying weapons to Ukraine.
The press secretary of Russian President Dmitry Peskov also saw that supplying Ukraine with weapons from the West does not contribute to the success of the Russian-Ukrainian negotiations and will have a negative impact.
Britain, Estonia, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Denmark, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands and Slovakia pledged last week to provide unprecedented military aid to Ukraine, including tanks, heavy artillery, air defenses and ammunition.
Ukraine is finding an alternative to German tanks
As US and Israeli officials said last week, the Pentagon is exploiting a huge, unknown stockpile of US munitions in Israel to help meet Ukraine’s desperate need for artillery shells in the war with Russia.
It is scheduled that the new German Defense Minister, Boris Pistorius, will meet today with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Germany to continue discussing the issue of supplying tanks to Ukraine.