Germany continues standing in the way of effort to supply Ukraine with tanks

By | January 20, 2023

Politico reports:

Germany dashed Ukrainian hopes that Berlin would finally decide on Friday to send modern battle tanks to Kyiv’s forces, with German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius arguing there was no international agreement yet on the topic.

Speaking outside a meeting of defense ministers at the U.S. Ramstein military base in Germany, Pistorius said his government had still not agreed to a Ukrainian request for German’s Leopard 2 tanks to aid an expected spring offensive.

“We all cannot say today when a decision [on potentially sending Leopard tanks] will come and what it will look like,” he told reporters.

Instead, Pistorius said, he has instructed the German army to “review” how many and which Leopards it could send, so the government can “act quickly” once a final decision comes.

Several European allies have publicly asked Germany to at least grant permission for other countries to donate their own Leopard tanks — a necessary step because of export restrictions on the German-made vehicles.

Pistorius said German Chancellor Olaf Scholz still needed to make a decision on these requests.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy reiterated his call for tanks just hours before Pistorius spoke.

“We have to speed up,” he implored officials gathered in Ramstein. Friday was the moment, he insisted, not to debate details but to confirm one key principle: Kyiv’s partners will provide their modern tanks.

“It is in your power,” he said. [Continue reading…]

Peter Beaumont writes:

Ukraine has said it has an urgent need for heavier armour in its war against Russia’s invasion. Kyiv has limited availability of tanks, most of them from the Soviet or post-Soviet era.

As well as emphasising its belief that Moscow intends to launch a significant new offensive in the coming months, Kyiv and many of its allies believe that the war will end more quickly if Russia is defeated on the battlefield in Ukraine’s own counter-offensives to take back Russian occupied territory.

While Ukraine has won significant victories – in the battle for Kyiv at the beginning of the war as well as in Kharkiv oblast and around Kherson in the south – it is hampered by a shortage of tanks to support its operations and faced by Russian forces increasingly fielding more modern and capable T-90s.

The widespread availability of Leopards – including in neighbouring Poland, which wants to supply them to Ukraine – makes them a good fit for Kyiv.

Ukraine has suggested it needs 300 tanks, while western analysts have suggested that 100 could probably shift the balance of the war. [Continue reading…]

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