Germany U-turns over tanks, saying it will send Leopard 2s to Ukraine

The main battle tank Leopard 2 A7V of the German Army on the training ground.

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Germany has announced that it is ready to send 14 of its tanks to Ukraine and allow others to do so, in a turnaround from their previous position.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced on Wednesday that Germany will supply Ukraine with 14 Leopard 2 tanks from the stockpile of the Bundeswehr (German armed forces).

In a government statement, Scholz said that Germany will continue to increase its military support to Ukraine and will supply the Ukrainian armed forces with Leopard 2s as “the result of in-depth consultations taking place.” out with Germany’s closest international and European partners,” according to NBC. News translation.

“This decision follows our well-known line of supporting Ukraine to the best of our ability. We are acting in a closely coordinated international manner,” the prime minister said.

Germany said its goal was to “rapidly assemble two tank battalions with Leopard 2 tanks for Ukraine. As a first step, Germany will supply a company with 14 Leopard 2 A6 tanks from the Bundeswehr stockpile. Other European partners will also deliver Leopard-2 tanks The statement stated that training of the Ukrainian crew will soon begin in Germany.

“In addition to training, the support package will also include logistics, ammunition and system maintenance,” it added.

Germany said it will issue appropriate transfer permits to partner countries that want to “quickly deliver Leopard 2 tanks from their stockpile to Ukraine.”


Ukraine’s disappointment

Ukraine has had to settle with its international allies on the tank issue, recognizing that its ability to counter Russia largely depends on weapons from its NATO partners. But it also disappoints over the long period of time that allies often have to approve arms supplies to Ukraine.

Kiev has repeatedly begged for tanks from its allies, arguing that they need them to defeat Russia, especially against Moscow’s anticipated spring attacks. So far, only the UK has heeded Ukraine’s call, agreeing in early January to send 14 Challenger 2 tanks of its own.

Ukraine coveted the Leopard 2 tank, which was diesel-powered, relatively easy to maintain and readily available from Ukraine’s neighbors, such as Poland. Warsaw on Tuesday sent a request to Berlin for permission to re-export its 14 Leopard tanks to Kiev.

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Tuesday that allies need to make a decision on tanks, especially as the country prepares for a “new wave of Russian aggression” in eastern Ukraine, where fighting is going on fiercely.

“There’s been a lot of talk about tanks. About the modern tanks we need. And about how to fill this gap. A lot of effort, words, promises,” Zelenskyy said in the release. Tuesday nightly.

“But it’s important to see the reality: it’s not five, ten or fifteen tanks. The demand is bigger. We’re doing what’s needed every day to fill the shortfall … However, , discussions must end with decisions. Decisions about actually strengthening our defenses,” he said.

M1 Abrams tanks and other armored vehicles sit on top of flat cars in the station platform after US President Donald Trump said tanks and other military assets would be part of a show of military might. July 4 event in Washington, USA, July 2, 2019.

Lea Millis | Reuters

There is hope that the supply of modern Western battle tanks to Ukraine can change the dynamics of the war in Kiev’s favor, just as other weapons have done, such as artillery systems. High Mobility Jet (HIMARS) provided by the US.

“The war in Ukraine will prove that tanks still matter – and the Leopards will outperform their Russian rivals,” said John T. Watts, a non-resident senior fellow in the Money Defense operation. of the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security said in emailed comments Wednesday.

“In fact, there are very few systems that can provide the combination of firepower, protection and mobility that a tank can… The supply of Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, if used. proficient and effective – and I am confident they will.” – will demonstrate the effective, powerful and vital capabilities of modern battle tanks,” he noted.

“Sophisticated and effective armor design, advanced optics, and advanced crew training make up the modern Western main battle tank system a very different monster from equipment and Soviet-era training is being used by Russian invaders.”

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