February 1, 2023

Germany set to send Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, Der Spiegel reports

4 min read




CNN

Germany is ready to send its desired goods. Cheetah 2 tank to Ukraine to bolster the country’s war effort, Der Spiegel reported Tuesday evening, citing unnamed sources. According to an exclusive report by a German news outlet, German Chancellor Olaf Schulz has decided to supply the battle tanks after “months of discussion”.

The German parliament is scheduled to debate the controversial issue on Wednesday morning. The decision to send them in would be a landmark moment in Western support for Kyiv after days of intense pressure on Berlin from some of its NATO partners.

CNN reached out to the German government for comment Tuesday evening but did not receive a response.

The report comes shortly after US officials revealed on Tuesday that the Biden administration was finalizing plans to send it. American made tanks to Ukraine. Germany signaled to the US last week that it would not send its Leopard tanks until the US also agreed to send its M1 Abrams tanks.

Sending Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine would give Kyiv’s forces a modern and powerful military vehicle ahead of a possible Russian spring offensive. It would also come as a blow to the Kremlin, which has seen an escalation. Campaign to arm Ukraine Soldiers with high-tech fighting systems as Russia’s ground war approaches one year.

Germany had resisted the growing drumbeat of Western pressure to send some tanks to Ukraine, with new German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius repeatedly asking for more time and insisting the move weighed the pros and cons for Berlin. Will come along.

Warsaw raised the stakes on Tuesday when it formally asked for permission to send its Leopards, a move Berlin had previously said it would not block.

Several European countries also own some leopards, and Poland tried to re-export them to Ukraine even if Germany was not involved. But the decision by Scholz and Pistorius was considered significant because the tanks are German-made and Germany generally controls their export and re-export.

A Polish official told CNN on Tuesday that to his knowledge, Berlin had not yet formally informed Warsaw of the decision to allow the leopard to be sent to Ukraine.

The German military has 320 Leopard tanks but would not say how many would be combat-ready, a defense ministry spokesman previously told CNN.

Several high-tech fighting systems have been pledged to Ukraine since the start of the year amid a new wave of Western military aid. The United States last week finalized a major military aid package worth about $2.5 billion to Ukraine, including Stryker combat vehicles for the first time, while Britain and several European Union countries agreed to send tanks. What is it.

Pistorius, who became Germany’s defense minister on Thursday, has dominated efforts by key allies to join the trend by sending the Leopards to Ukraine in his first days. Germany in return guaranteed that the US would also send its tanks.

But the frustration of some leaders was exposed when the Berlin summit wrapped up last Friday without a deal on sending the Leopards, with Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki “wasting time” by failing to reach a decision on Germany. Accused of

Boris Pistorius and Lloyd Austin met on Thursday.

The Leopard 2 tank will be a powerful combat vehicle for the Ukrainian battlefield.

Each tank is armed with a 120 mm smoothbore gun and a 7.62 mm machine gun. It can reach a top speed of 70 km/h (44 mph), or 50 km/h off-road, making maneuverability one of its key features. And according to its German manufacturer, Krauss-Maffei Wegmann, there is all-round protection against threats, including improvised explosive devices, mines or anti-tank fire.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has repeatedly pleaded with countries to stop arguing about sending tanks.

“We’ve talked hundreds of times about weapons shortages. We can’t just go on the spur of the moment,” he said during a virtual appearance at the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos last week.

In an apparent swipe at Germany’s stalling, Zielinski added: “There are moments when there’s no need to hesitate. When people say – I’ll tank you if someone else does it.

Meanwhile, Russia tried to threaten Germany as it thought. Asked during a regular press briefing about Moscow’s response to whether Berlin had approved the tank shipment, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said relations between the two countries were already at a low level, adding Said that currently there are no concrete talks with Germany or other European Union. and NATO countries.”

“Of course, such deliveries are not good for the future of the relationship. They will leave an immediate mark,” Peskov said.

Previous military aid, such as the US HIMARS rocket system, has been instrumental in helping Ukraine mount a number of successful countermeasures in recent months.



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