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Germany to send Leopard tanks to Ukraine: reports

24.01.2023 23:30
Germany is set to send its Leopard battle tanks to Ukraine and allow other countries such as Poland to do so as well, multiple news outlets reported late on Tuesday.
Olaf Scholz.
Olaf Scholz.PAP/EPA/Benoit Tessier

The German decision concerns at least one company of Leopard 2 A6 tanks, the Reuters news agency reported, citing Germany's Der Spiegel magazine. 

One company usually contains 14 tanks, Reuters noted.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is due to announce the delivery of Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine on Wednesday, as part of an address in the German parliament, according to the Politico news service. 

Leopard tanks for Ukraine

The move marks a significant U-turn and potentially a decisive moment in the war, with a broader coalition of countries likely to send battle tanks to help Ukraine fight off the Russian invasion, Politico reported. 

As Leopard 2 tanks are made in Germany, Berlin’s permission is required for their re-export, news outlets noted.

Some of Ukraine's allies, notably Poland, had put intense pressure on Germany to allow them to support Kyiv with Leopard 2 tanks, according to officials. 

A senior Ukrainian government official told US broadcaster ABC News that Kyiv expected to receive 100 Leopard 2 tanks from 12 countries immediately after Germany gives the go-ahead, Polish state news agency PAP reported. 

Andriy Yermak, the head of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's administration, wrote on the Telegram social messaging service: "A few hundred tanks for our tank crews - the best tank crews in the world. This is what is going to become a real punching fist of democracy against the autocracy from the bog."

US to send Abrams tanks to Ukraine?

Meanwhile, the United States may supply its Abrams tanks to Ukraine, Reuters reported on Tuesday night, citing sources familiar with the matter.

The US announcement is expected to come on Wednesday in coordination with an announcement by Germany that it will approve Poland’s request to transfer German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, according to US officials, ABC News reported.

Tuesday’s developments come after months of pleas from Ukraine for Western tanks, news agencies noted. 

Kyiv says modern tanks are desperately needed to give its army the firepower and mobility to break through Russian defensive lines and reclaim occupied territory in eastern and southern Ukraine, according to news reports.

Tuesday was day 335 of Russia’s war against Ukraine.


Source: PAP, Reuters, politico.eu, ABC News