The United States and Europe are discussing the “next step” of security assistance to Ukraine – supplying Kyiv with significant numbers of modern heavy tanks, Dutch PM Mark Rutte said in an interview with CNN on Jan. 19.
“There has been broadly support to send military gear; we have sent so much since the start of the war,” said Rutte.
“Of course, there is this debate going on tanks, and here the issue is, this will be a next step in the fight. It might be necessary, but I do understand the Germans and others are saying you need a broad coalition.”
The PM added that it’s “crucial” that Ukraine wins the war, but Ukraine’s partners need to be “honest” with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, explaining that it will take a concerted effort of many countries to provide Kyiv with the magnitude of military aid it requests.
“You have to be also honest with him (Zelensky) and say, if you want tanks, for example, at this level he is asking for them, it is necessary that we do this not just by one country, but by a group of countries,” Rutte said.
He concluded by saying he was “fairly confident” the United States and Europe will be able to reach a consensus on sending Western tanks to Ukraine.
On Jan. 17, Reuters reported that at Davos, Germany's partners increased pressure on Chancellor Olaf Scholz to allow the transfer of Leopard tanks to Ukraine. Earlier, Polish President Andrzej Duda was the first to announce the transfer of 14 Leopard tanks to the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
On Jan. 18, German media reported Scholz told U.S. President Joe Biden that Berlin will greenlight shipments of Leopard tanks to Ukraine after Washington sends its own Abrams main battle tanks.