German Chancellor Olaf Scholz will allow shipments of German-made Leopard main battle tanks to Ukraine if the United States decides to make Abrams tanks available to Kyiv, German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung reported on Jan. 18.
According to the report, during his conversation with U.S. President Joe Biden, Scholz “made it clear” that Germany will agree to supply Ukraine with tanks only if the United States does the same. The German leader has long since maintained that Berlin will only act in concert with its allies when it comes to Ukraine military aid.
Süddeutsche Zeitung writes that the chancellor is under increasing pressure from EU allies and even his SPD party to finally greenlight shipments of Leopard main battle tanks to Ukraine.
Earlier, Claudia Major, an analyst at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs, told The New York Times that “even a single Abrams (tank) will be enough for Scholz to act.”
The United States is preparing another package of security assistance to Ukraine, which will include Stryker armored vehicles and GLSDB rockets – but no Abrams tanks, Politico reported on Jan. 18, citing U.S. officials.
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.