Berlin gave the go-ahead for the delivery of Leopard tanks to Ukraine, which they had urgently demanded in view of the Russian invasion, the spokesman for the federal government announced on Wednesday.
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According to a government statement, Germany will also deliver 14 Leopard 2A6 tanks from Bundeswehr stocks to Ukraine.
The announcement was made on Wednesday morning at the end of the Council of Ministers.
“It is the result of intensive consultations with German-related European and international partners,” said government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit.
Chancellor Olaf Scholz has been under pressure for weeks from his western allies in Ukraine, but also from his partners in his government coalition, liberals and environmentalists.
“This decision follows our well-known policy of supporting Ukraine with all our might. We act internationally in a closely coordinated manner,” says Mr. Scholz, quoted in the press release.
“The goal is to quickly create two tank battalions armed with Leopard 2 tanks for Ukraine,” the statement said.
“Germany is initially providing a company of 14 Leopard 2 A6 tanks from Bundeswehr stocks,” said the spokesman. This 2A6 tank is a newer and improved model than the 2A4, which is primarily intended to supply Poland and Finland.
“The training of Ukrainian crews must begin quickly in Germany,” the spokesman demanded. “In addition to training, the package also includes logistics, ammunition and system maintenance.”
And “Germany will issue the necessary permits for the transfer to partner countries that want to quickly deliver Leopard 2 tanks from their stocks to Ukraine,” he concluded.
Countries that have purchased Leopard 2 tanks from Germany for their armed forces must obtain approval from Berlin to re-export them.
Several countries, including Poland, Finland and the Netherlands, have indicated their willingness to supply these heavy tanks, which Kyiv has been demanding loud and clear.
The US could announce the delivery of Abrams tanks, according to the Wall Street Journal.