Bloomberg: Germany ready to approve delivery of Leopard tanks to Ukraine

Germany next week will decide on the issue of sending Leopard tanks to Ukraine. This will be done before a meeting of allied defense ministers at US Ramstein airbase on January 20, a German official familiar with the government’s plans told Bloomberg. A day earlier, Defense Secretary Christina Lambrecht and her US counterpart Lloyd Austin will also meet in Berlin.

Germany’s NATO allies are increasingly urging her to get involved in providing Ukrainian troops with offensive weapons. Polish President Andrzej Duda has already said this week that his country will provide Kyiv with a “company” (usually 14 vehicles) of German-made Leopard 2 tanks (this now requires the consent of Berlin). In addition, European countries are discussing the creation of a coalition to supply tanks to Ukraine.

London and Paris intend to contribute. The UK is preparing to send its Challenger 2 main battle tank (it will be the first modern tank that a NATO country will provide to Ukraine). And France will supply the AMX-10 RC (considered a heavy armored car or light tank, designed to deal with enemy armored vehicles). This will be done within two months, Armed Forces Minister Sebastian Lecornu said on Friday.

German authorities are likely to decide in favor of providing the Leopards to Ukraine, two officials familiar with government discussions told Bloomberg. So far, however, it remains unclear whether it will only allow the supply of German tanks by other countries (as in the case of Poland) or whether it will be ready to do this itself, the agency notes. Now 13 European countries have approximately 2,000 Leopards.

At a meeting at the Ramstein base, Lambrecht will give a clear answer about the tanks, says one Bloomberg source. Berlin has yet to make a concrete decision on Thursday, but pressure is mounting on Germany, another European official said.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz is wary of providing Ukraine with heavy tanks, believing that the Kremlin could see this as an escalation of the conflict. However, Economics Minister and Vice Chancellor Robert Habek commented on Thursday on Poland’s desire to supply Ukraine with its Leopards:

Sending Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine “should not be taboo,” Justice Minister Marco Buschmann backed him on Friday.

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