On Wednesday, January 25th, 2023, Olaf Scholz, the German Chancellor, said his country would send 14 of its Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine and allow other nations to do the same. Germany would provide the tanks out of its Bundeswehr stocks. This is a reversal from its earlier position.
In a government statement, the Chancellor stated that Germany would continue increasing military support for Ukraine due to consultations with its closest international and European partners. The decision follows Germany’s line of supporting Ukraine. Chancellor Scholz said they were working in a closely coordinated way internationally.
Germany said it intended to assemble the tanks quickly. Other European partners will also provide Ukraine with Leopard 2 tanks. The statement noted that Ukrainian troops would receive training on how to use the tanks quickly in Germany. Besides training, the package will also include ammunition, logistics, and system maintenance.
Germany said it would provide suitable transfer permits to partner nations that want to deliver Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine. This decision follows a few months of deliberation. Germany appeared reluctant to provide Ukraine with the tanks unless the United States did the same. The two nations failed to agree on the matter at a defense summit, which occurred last Friday at the Ramstein Air Base.
Late Tuesday, reports emerged that Scholz was prepared to send 14 tanks to Ukraine while the U.S.A. was potentially ready to provide Ukraine with a couple of dozen tanks. U.S. officials believe the United States will send about 30 M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine. The White House did not say when the U.S. would deliver the first tanks, but some officials said it would take twelve months.
When speaking to German television last week, Boris Pistorius, the German defense minister, said that U.S. and German tanks do not have to be delivered simultaneously. This leaves an opening for the U.S.A. to provide its Abrams tanks later.
The United States had previously resisted proving its M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, stating that they posed complicated and extensive logistical and maintenance challenges. U.S. officials believe it is better to send German Leopard tanks because most allies have them, and Ukrainian troops would require less training than they would on the more challenging Abrams tanks. One of the things that Lloyd Austin, the Defense Secretary, has focused on is that the United States should only provide Ukrainian troops with systems they can sustain, repair or afford in the long term since this is unhelpful. A U.S. official has said that there are plans to train the Ukrainian army and ensure effective maintenance of the tanks.