German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has agreed to send tanks to Ukraine after repeated appeals by Ukraine’s Western allies.
Kyiv has pleaded for months for the Western tanks, which it says it needs to give its forces the firepower and mobility to penetrate Russian defensive lines and capture occupied territory.
So far, only Britain among NATO allies has agreed to send tanks in the form of 14 British Army Challenger 2s.
Berlin declined to make a decision on whether or not to export its Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine during an international summit on Friday.
mr scholz has been hesitant to send tanks—or allow other countries to send their tanks—over concerns that it could escalate conflict with Russia.
The Leopard 2 is made in Germany and Berlin needs to approve their export.
Berlin’s hesitation prompted the leaders of dozens of key Commons committees to write to Germany’s Defense Ministry, urging it to heed a call by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and expedite the delivery of military aid.
But on Tuesday, German news magazine Der Spiegel reported that Chancellor Olaf Scholz had decided to send 2 Leopard tanks to Ukraine and allow other countries like Poland to do the same.
At least a company of Leopard 2 A6 tanks, usually 14 tanks, are to be sent, several German outlets reported. Wants to send the same number of leopards to Poland.
After Berlin dragged its heels on the tanks decision last week, Poland indicated it would send 2 Leopard tanks to Ukraine with or without permission from Germany, which as a manufacturer of combat vehicles , have a veto on their distribution in other countries.
Polish PM Mateusz Morawiecki told the BBC earlier on Tuesday that Germany had a “special responsibility” to support Ukraine, which had built up “vast Russian wealth” before the war.
It was also reported on Tuesday that the US is now set to approve sending M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, which would be a U-turn.
News agency Associated Press (AP) said it was told by US officials that a decision could be announced as soon as Wednesday, although it could take months or years for the tanks to be delivered. According to the AP, details are still being worked out.
On Monday, former Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged the West to “double and triple” support for Ukraine, and provide it with the weapons it needs to defeat Russia.
“What conceivable grounds could there be for the delay?” He wrote in an article for Mail Plus. “Why aren’t we giving Ukrainians all the help they need now, when they need it?
“The sooner we can help Ukrainians to their inevitable victory, the sooner the whole world can begin to recover from Putin’s devastation.
“It requires the West to double and triple our support.”
Kyiv last week called on its allies to hurry up and supply tanks and air defense systems, saying Ukraine was paying the price in life for the slow pace of discussions in foreign capitals.
“We don’t have time, the world doesn’t have time right now,” Andrey Yermak, the head of Ukraine’s presidential administration, wrote on the Telegram messaging app on Thursday.
(tags to translate) kiev