Germany agrees to send heavy Leopard tanks to Ukraine

16:00 | 25.01.2023
Germany said on Wednesday it would supply its Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, overcoming misgivings about sending heavy weaponry that Kyiv sees as crucial to defeat the Russian invasion but Moscow casts as a provocation, reported from Reuters.

Pressure has been building for weeks on German Chancellor Olaf Scholz's government to send the tanks and allow other NATO allies to do the same ahead of expected spring offensives by both sides.

Scholz's government had stalled, wary of moves that could prompt Russia to escalate or suck the NATO alliance into becoming a party to the conflict.

Germany's decision paves the way for other countries such as Poland, Spain, Finland and Norway to supply some of their Leopard tanks to Ukraine, going some way towards delivering the hundreds of tanks that Ukraine says it needs, especially if the United States follows suit.

"This decision follows our well-known line of supporting Ukraine to the best of our ability. We are acting in a closely coordinated manner internationally," Scholz said in a statement.

The goal was to quickly establish two battalions with Leopard 2 tanks for Ukraine, the statement said, adding that Germany would initially provide 14 Leopard 2 tanks from its own inventory.

A battalion normally comprises three or four companies with around 14 tanks each. Poland has also pledged 14 tanks and Britain has promised 14 of its own Challengers.

Training of Ukrainian troops in Germany will begin soon, and Germany will also provide logistics and ammunition, it said.

Germany will also issue the appropriate transfer permits to partner countries that want to deliver Leopard 2 tanks quickly to Ukraine from their own stocks, it said.

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