The move was announced by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz just before midday local time, news outlets reported.
Scholz said in a statement, as quoted by the Reuters news agency: "This decision follows our well-known line of supporting Ukraine to the best of our ability. We are acting in a closely coordinated manner internationally."
Germany pledges 14 Leopard tanks for Ukraine
Scholz said that the goal was to quickly establish two battalions with Leopard 2 tanks for Ukraine, adding that Germany would initially provide 14 tanks from its own inventory, according to Reuters.
Germany also confirmed it would give partner countries permission to re-export further Leopard 2 battle tanks to Kyiv, according to officials.
Berlin's decision will allow other countries such as Poland, Spain, Finland and Norway to supply some of their Leopards, the Reuters news agency reported.
This assistance will go some way towards supplying the hundreds of tanks that Ukraine says it needs to repel the Russian invasion, officials said.
Meanwhile, the United States is expected to follow suit with its Abrams tanks, according to news reports.
Tanks for Ukraine
Until now, Germany and the United States had resisted internal and external pressure to send their tanks to Ukraine, the BBC reported.
America said its high-tech Abrams tanks would require extensive training and maintenance, while in Germany there were months of political debate about concerns that sending tanks would escalate the war and make NATO a direct party to the conflict with Russia, according to news outlets.
After Wednesday’s U-turn, Germany and its European partners plan to “quickly” send two Leopard 2 tank battalions to Ukraine, with Germany agreeing to provide a company of 14 Leopard 2 A6s “as a first step," the Politico news service reported.
A battalion usually has three or four companies and a company comprises around 14 tanks, according to officials.
Poland has also pledged a company of Leopard tanks, and Britain has promised 14 of its own Challenger tanks, Reuters reported.
Wednesday is day 336 of Russia’s war against Ukraine.
Source: IAR, PAP, Reuters, BBC