NATO’s Stoltenberg doesn’t rule out supplying tanks to Ukraine

10 January, 03:06 AM
Jens Stoltenberg (Photo:REUTERS/Michele Tantussi)

Jens Stoltenberg (Photo:REUTERS/Michele Tantussi)

NATO member states could eventually decide to supply Ukraine with modern heavy tanks, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said in an interview with Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet on Jan. 9.

When asked about the likelihood of the alliance transferring Leopard or Abrams tanks to Ukraine, Stoltenberg said he “doesn’t rule it out, but won’t promise anything, either.”

During a security conference in Selena, Sweden, the Secretary General reiterated that the war in Ukraine "most likely" will end at the negotiating table, but "what the Ukrainians can achieve in the negotiations depends on their strength on the battlefield."

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“So if we want a negotiated peace solution, where Ukraine survives as an independent democratic country in Europe, the fastest way to get there is to support Ukraine,” added Stoltenberg. “Weapons are – in fact – the way to peace.”

On Jan. 7, Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak confirmed that Ukraine is negotiating with its international partners about the transfer of heavy tanks, specifically – the German-made Leopard-2. According to him, the discussions are “already at the finish line.”

U.S. newspaper The Wall Street Journal earlier reported that Poland is considering supplying Ukraine with Leopards tanks. Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki confirmed negotiations were underway, but said Warsaw does not plan to transfer the tanks to Ukraine without support from a broader coalition of allies.

Following talks between Ukrainian and French presidents Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Emmanuel Macron on Jan. 4, France agreed to provide Ukraine with AMX-10RC armored vehicles, which are sometimes classified as wheeled tanks – the first instance of armored vehicles of this type to be transferred to Kyiv.

On Jan. 5, following talks between U.S. President Joe Biden and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, the United States and Germany announced that they would transfer Marder and Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles to Ukraine. Berlin will also transfer an additional Patriot air defense battery to Ukraine – on top of the one Washington pledged back in December 2022.

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