Germany has decided to send Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine. Der Spiegel writes it, in its online edition, stating that the chancellor Olaf Scholz has made the decision. The magazine points out that the “United States could send Abrams tanks”. The news is also confirmed by the Dpa agency.
GERMANIA – As revealed by the German weekly, Scholz has also decided to allow other countries such as Poland – which have dozens of Leopard 2 tanks – to send their own tanks to Ukraine. Neither the German government nor the Ministry of Defense have confirmed the news for the moment. Germany would send at least one company of A6 Leopard 2 tanks currently owned by the Bundeswehr.
Germany has a stock of 320 Leopard 2 tanks, a German defense spokeswoman told CNN, without however clarifying how many of these tanks requested by Ukraine are operational. These are Leopard 2s of the A5, A6 and A7 series which are in various stages of battle-deployment or repair readiness. The Army no longer has the Leopard 1, nor the older A4-series Leopard 2 models.
Outside the military, arms manufacturer Rheinmetall said last week it has a stock of 139 Leopards, of which only 29 are combat-ready and could be supplied this spring. However these tanks have already been promised to third countries in exchanges with countries that sent old Soviet tanks to Ukraine. The rest of the stock is not yet operational: of the 88 remaining tanks, only a few could be delivered in nine months and the others in a year. Another German arms company, the Ffg, has 99 Leopards, but these are the old Leopard 1 model.
COALITION – Meanwhile, twelve countries will supply Ukraine with a hundred Leopard 2 tanks, to be used in the war against Russia, once the German government has formally given the go-ahead for the supply. This was reported by a Ukrainian government source to the ABC News broadcaster, specifying that the agreement was reached last week during the meeting at the Ramstein base in Germany. Finland and Poland have already publicly indicated their intention to supply the tanks, but according to the source, Spain, the Netherlands and Denmark have also said they are available.
THE SCENERY – The Biden administration is leaning toward sending a significant number of M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, according to the Wall Street Journal scenario based on information provided by official sources. The announcement of the shipment is expected to take place this week.
The announcement of the sending by the United States will take place in the context of “a broader understanding with Germany, according to which Berlin will agree to send a number of its own Leopard 2 tanks and will approve the sending of other manufacturing tanks by Poland and other nations”, the Wall Street Journal still says, specifying that the number of tanks that Germany would agree to send would be lower than that of the Abrams that will be sent from Washington.
This agreement, concludes the WSJ, should close the disagreement that had opened up between the NATO allies on the issue of tanks and which has threatened to create tensions just as we approach the first anniversary of the beginning of the conflict.
In recent days, Germany had indicated that it would commit to sending Leopard 2s if the Biden administration considered sending its own tanks. The Pentagon said it was against sending the Abrams, arguing that these armored vehicles need large quantities of fuel and other logistical situations that would limit their effectiveness.
According to the WSJ, the US change in position would have occurred “after the phone call on January 17 between President Biden and German Chancellor Scholz during which Biden agreed to consider sending the Abrams tanks even against the judgment of the Pentagon” .
German sources explained to the American newspaper that the question has been at the center of “intense negotiations between Washington and Berlin for over a week and now appears to be in the process of being resolved”.