War in Ukraine: Ukraine talks to Germany about supply of main battle tanks

Ukraine firmly assumes that further German arms deliveries to Ukraine will soon be announced.

War in Ukraine: Ukraine talks to Germany about supply of main battle tanks

Ukraine firmly assumes that further German arms deliveries to Ukraine will soon be announced. "In a direct conversation, we were assured more weapons and more ammunition. We will announce which ones together in due course," said the Ukrainian ambassador Oleksii Makeiev of the "Welt am Sonntag". More anti-aircraft systems, self-propelled howitzers, cheetahs and ammunition were urgently needed at the front. "In addition, we are still in talks about the delivery of Marder and Leopard tanks," said the ambassador. However, the decision on this rests with the federal government.

USA don't mind delivery

Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) has so far refused to supply Leopard 2 tanks on the grounds that no other NATO country has made such tanks available. He has repeatedly emphasized that there will be no going it alone. However, the most important ally, the USA, has now given the green light for the delivery of German main battle tanks. "It's Germany's decision," said US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman during a visit to Germany in Berlin. The top diplomat held talks in the Chancellery and the Foreign Office on Friday.

Since the beginning of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, Germany has so far supplied Ukraine with weapons, ammunition and military equipment worth almost two billion euros, including the Iris-T air defense system, which can protect an entire city from Russian air attacks. After many months, Germany has taken a "leading role" in arms deliveries, Makeiev said. He wants to ensure that what the federal government can still provide is delivered quickly. "Because we don't have time to wait any longer for weapons."

Estonia demands more arms deliveries from allies

The Estonian head of government, Kaja Kallas, is also pushing Germany and other allies to continue supplying arms to Ukraine. "I urge all allies, including Germany, to send everything Ukraine needs to defend itself," said the Prime Minister of the German Press Agency. "If all allies had sent weapons in January or February, many lives would have been saved." On the question of whether Germany should also send Leopard 2 main battle tanks to Ukraine, Kallas said: "It is up to each individual country to say what it can and cannot provide."

Ukraine has been asking Germany to deliver Leopard 2 main battle tanks for months. So far, however, the federal government has not shown any movement on the subject. Only on Friday did deputy government spokeswoman Christiane Hoffmann confirm that there would be no going it alone. She also emphasized that the US does not feel pressured. "There was never any pressure or request from the American side to supply Leopard 2 main battle tanks."

Ex-NATO boss: "Chancellor Scholz, what are you waiting for?"

Former NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen spoke out clearly in favor of the delivery of German battle tanks to Ukraine in an article for the "Tagesspiegel". "The German government hesitated too long. They hid behind the fact that the US didn't send tanks." That makes no sense, writes Rasmussen. "Military experts in Ukraine, the United States and Europe agree that the German Leopard 2 tank is best suited to local conditions. It is also the most practical solution due to the existing logistics and repair infrastructure in Europe."

As several European countries have Leopard tanks, a German-led coalition could send them in now to prepare for a Ukrainian offensive in the spring, says Dane Rasmussen. "The US government has made it clear that it supports this idea. Chancellor Scholz, what are you waiting for?"