After months of delays and mounting pressure from its allies, Berlin has finally decided to send at least ten Leopard 2A6 main battle tanks to Ukraine, and to allow third countries to supply Kyiv with German-made tanks, German newspaper Der Spiegel reported on Jan. 24, citing its own sources.
The German government previously said it would consider the matter and arrive at a decision on Jan. 25.
Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, Andriy Yermak, wrote on Telegram that Ukraine needs Western tanks to restore its territorial integrity.
“Several hundred tanks for our crews, the best tank crews in the world,” said Yermak.
“This would be a real strike of democracy against autocracy from the northern swamps.”
Citing an unnamed Ukrainian official, ABC news previously reported that representatives of 12 countries agreed to supply Ukraine with around 100 German-made Leopard-2 tanks, pending Germany’s approval.
Earlier on Jan. 24, The Wall Street Journal reported Washington is leaning towards supplying Ukraine with a “significant” quantity of Abrams M1 main battle tanks, with the corresponding announcement expected within days.
Defense ministers of Ukraine’s international partners gathered at the U.S. Air Force Ramstein base in Germany on Jan. 20, discussing the ongoing and future efforts to equip Kyiv’s troops with modern weapons.
Following the summit, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said that countries have achieved “a positive breakthrough” regarding the Leopard-2 tanks. He explained that the meeting participants agreed that countries with Leopard 2s in service could begin training Ukrainian tank crews.
Following numerous Ukrainian requests, Poland has decided to transfer German-made Leopard main battle tanks to Ukraine, Polish President Andrzej Duda said during his visit to Lviv, Ukraine, on Jan. 11, where he met with his Ukrainian and Lithuanian counterparts, Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Gitanas Nauseda.
Earlier in January, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak decided to provide Ukraine with 14 Challenger 2 tanks, making the United Kingdom the first Western country to equip Kyiv with modern heavy tanks.