Ukraine – Germany confirms 14 Leopard 2 tanks to be sent to Ukraine

Olaf Scholz, canciller de Alemania – Kay Nietfeld/dpa

The German government confirmed Wednesday that it will send Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine to bolster the Ukrainian Armed Forces’ capabilities against the Russians, after days of speculation about the position Berlin would eventually take.

«This decision follows our already known line of supporting Ukraine to the extent of our possibilities,» said Scholz, during a government meeting in which he also defended the need to coordinate in this area with other international partners.

The Executive has explained that Germany will deliver 14 Leopard 2A6 which are in the arsenal of the German Armed Forces. It expects to assemble in a short period two tank battalions, with a view also to providing training, logistics and ammunition, according to a statement.

Following this, German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said that the first tanks could be shipped in about three months, an announcement made after a meeting of the defense committee of the Bundestag, the lower house of parliament, according to the German news agency DPA.

He explained that the authorities will quickly begin the training process and added that the supply routes will be established shortly. Pistorius, who took office last week, described the decision to hand over the tanks to Kiev as «historic».

In this regard, he has stated that «the situation in Ukraine is very delicate». «This is not a reason to rejoice,» he has outlined, while stressing that he understands those who are worried. «What is clear is that we will not become a belligerent party, we will make sure of it,» he concluded.

Berlin’s approval also includes authorizations for other countries, such as Poland, to send the German-made tanks they have. The government of Mateusz Morawiecki had threatened to act unilaterally if it did not receive this permission.

For his part, the Ukrainian ambassador to Germany, Oleksiy Makeiev, applauded on Wednesday the formation of a «large coalition of tanks» with a view to the possible delivery of this type of armament to Kiev, according to the DPA news agency.

«These tanks will help us to repel the Russian offensive and liberate our Russian-occupied territories and the population,» he said during a visit to the German city of Hamburg. «I hope our guys will soon receive these cats in Ukraine,» he has said, ironizing about the Leopards.

In this regard, he has stressed that the battle tanks would help «save lives». «We need everything and we are grateful for all kinds of help,» said Makeiev, who stressed that the Ukrainian army and military «have proved that they can handle different equipment.» «I assume that we will talk about more weapons systems,» he said, not ruling out further demands from Ukraine.