Germany ‘agrees to send tanks to Ukraine’ after Kyiv’s request for support
German Chancellor Olaf Schulz has reportedly agreed to send tanks to Ukraine after the country’s repeated appeals to Western allies.
Kyiv has pleaded for months for Western tanks, which it says it needs to give its forces the firepower and mobility to pierce Russian defense lines and retake occupied territory.
So far, only the UK has agreed to send 14 British Army Challenger 2 tanks among NATO allies.
Berlin refused to make a decision on exporting its Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine during an international summit on Friday.
Mr. Schulz has been reluctant to send tanks—or allow other nations to send theirs—over fears it could escalate a conflict with Russia.
Leopard 2s are made in Germany and need to be approved for export to Berlin.
Berlin’s reluctance prompted the leaders of dozens of major Commons committees to write to Germany’s defense ministry, urging it to heed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s call and speed up the delivery of military aid.
But German news magazine Der Spiegel reported on Tuesday that Chancellor Olaf Schulz had decided to send Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, and allowed other countries such as Poland to do the same.
At least one company of Leopard 2A6 tanks, usually 14 tanks, will be sent, several German outlets reported. It wants to send the same number of leopards to Poland.
After Berlin dragged its heels on a decision on the tanks last week, Poland indicated it would send Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine with or without the permission of Germany, a producer of combat vehicles. , has a veto on their distribution in other countries.
Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki told the BBC on Tuesday that Germany had a “special responsibility” to help Ukraine, which bought its gas before the war and made “huge Russian funds”.
It was also reported on Tuesday that the US is now ready to approve sending M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, in a U-turn.
The Associated Press (AP) news agency said US officials said the decision could be announced as soon as Wednesday, although the delivery of the tanks could take months or years. According to AP, the details are still being worked out.
On Monday, former prime minister Boris Johnson urged the West to “double and triple” support for Ukraine, providing it with the weapons it needs to defeat Russia.
“What plausible reasons could there be for the delay?” He wrote in an article for Mail Plus. “Why aren’t we giving the Ukrainians all the help they need, now, when they need it?
“The sooner we can help the Ukrainians to their inevitable victory, the sooner the whole world can begin to recover from Putin’s devastation.
“This requires doubling and tripling our support from the West.”
Urging his allies to hurry up and deliver tanks and air defense systems, Kyiv said last week that Ukraine was paying the price for the slow pace of talks in foreign capitals.
“We don’t have time, the world doesn’t have this time,” Ukrainian presidential administration chief Andriy Yermak wrote on the Telegram messaging app on Thursday.