Germany to send 14 Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine

Germany to send 14 Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine
Germany to send 14 Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine

Germany will send 14 Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine and has allowed partner countries to send them too – despite threats from Russia.

This means that other countries – such as Poland, Spain and Norway – that have stockpiles of NATO-standard tanks can now donate them to Kyiv.

Yesterday Moscow warned Berlin that sending tanks “does not bode well for future relations” – and told the US that if it allowed such a move it would be a “blatant provocation”.

Ukrainian War – latest: Russia sends warning to US over tanks

Kyiv has been advocating for months for Western nations to send in tanks to give its forces the firepower and mobility it hopes will allow them to break through Russian defensive lines and retake Russian-occupied territory.

“This decision follows our well-known line of supporting Ukraine to the best of our abilities,” German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said in a statement on Wednesday. “We act in a closely coordinated manner at the international level.”

Although Ukraine has stockpiles of Soviet-made tanks, President Volodymyr Zelensky says his forces need faster and deadlier weapons – especially Western tanks – to repel the Russians.

There had been a sense of frustration among some of Germany’s allies over the delay in allowing the Leopards to travel to Ukraine.

The German decision comes after the The United Kingdom has announced that it will provide 14 Challenger 2 tankswhich was widely seen as an attempt to persuade other allies to send leopards, whose stocks are much higher across Europe.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak hailed the decision as “the right decision by NATO allies and friends”.

“Alongside the Challenger 2s, they will bolster Ukraine’s defensive firepower. Together, we are accelerating our efforts for Ukraine to win this war and secure a lasting peace,” he said.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, who was among those criticizing Germany’s reluctance, also hailed the decision as a “big step towards stopping Russia”.

Earlier this week he said he was ready to form a “smaller coalition” of countries that would send their tanks to Ukraine.

Sky News understands that US officials will soon announce their intention to send Abrams tanks to help Kyiv repel the Russian invasion.

First introduced in 1979, the Leopard 2 offers good protection against armour-piercing shells and anti-tank guided weapons.

On Sunday, the speaker of the lower house of the Russian parliament, the speaker of the State Duma, Vyacheslav Volodin, declared: “Supplying offensive weapons to the regime in Kyiv would lead to a world catastrophe.

“If Washington and NATO provide weapons that would be used to strike peaceful cities and attempt to take over our territory as they threaten to do, that would trigger retaliation with more powerful weapons.”

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