Home Asia Germany agrees to send Leopard tanks to Ukraine, allies to follow

Germany agrees to send Leopard tanks to Ukraine, allies to follow

Intl desk, Jan 25: Germany said on Wednesday it would supply its Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, overcoming misgivings about sending heavy weaponry that Kyiv sees as crucial to defeat Russia’s invasion but Moscow casts as a dangerous provocation.

Pressure has been building for weeks on German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s government to send the tanks and allow NATO allies to do the same before expected spring offensives by both sides.

Scholz’s government had stalled, wary of moves that could prompt Russia to escalate the war or draw NATO into becoming a party to the conflict.

Germany’s decision paves the way for other countries such as Poland, Spain, Finland, the Netherlands and Norway to supply some of their Leopard tanks to Ukraine, going some way towards delivering the hundreds of tanks that Ukraine says it needs.

“Germany will always be at the forefront when it comes to supporting Ukraine,” Scholz told German parliament to applause. “…because there really is a war in Europe – not far from here in Berlin it is taking place against a big country like Ukraine.”

Germany must do everything possible “but at the same time we must prevent the war from escalating into a war between Russia and NATO,” he said.

Hoping to allay concerns about sending the weapons, Scholz asked Germans to trust his government to ensure there was no increased risk to their country and to coordinate steps with allies.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy thanked Scholz for Germany’s “important and timely decisions”, saying they were a “green light for partners to supply similar weapons”.

Germany aims to quickly establish two battalions with Leopard 2 tanks for Ukraine and initially provide 14 Leopard 2 tanks from its own inventory.

A battalion normally comprises three or four companies with around 14 tanks each. Poland has also pledged 14 tanks and Britain has promised 14 of its own Challengers.

Germany’s tanks would probably be ready in three-four months, Defence Minister Boris Pistorius said.

Training of Ukrainian troops in Germany will begin soon, and Germany will also provide logistics and ammunition. Germany said it would also issue the appropriate transfer permits to partner countries that want to deliver Leopard 2 tanks quickly from their own stocks.

RUSSIA CRITICISES GERMANY’S DECISION

Russia has portrayed deliveries of heavy weapons to Ukraine as proof that the West is escalating the war.

The Russian embassy to Berlin accused Germany of making an “extremely dangerous decision” and abandoning its “historical responsibility to Russia” arising from Nazi crimes in World War Two. The embassy said the tank deliveries would escalate the conflict to a new level and lead to “permanent escalation”.

The Leopards, used by armies across Europe, are widely seen as the best option for Ukraine as they are available in large numbers and relatively easy to deploy and maintain.

Washington may also drop its opposition to sending perhaps dozens of its M1 Abrams tanks to Kyiv. The Abrams is seen as less suitable for Ukraine due to its heavy fuel consumption and greater maintenance needs, but such a move could ease German concerns about presenting a united front among Ukraine’s allies.

Asked whether France would send Leclerc tanks, a French government official said there was “no taboo” on such tanks but France was keen to be “efficient” and was studying the option independently of what Berlin and Washington were doing.

Kyiv has pleaded for months for Western tanks, which it says will give its forces the firepower and mobility to break through Russian defensive lines and recapture occupied territory.

Britain and Poland welcomed Germany’s decision, which Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki described as “a big step towards stopping Russia.”

Source: News Agencies

RELATED ARTICLES

PM slams those favouring unelected govt for interim period

Dhaka, Feb 01: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday slammed those who are talking in favour of an unelected government for an interim period,...

By-polls in 6 constituencies saw 15-25% turnout: CEC

Dhaka, Feb 01: Chief Election Commissioner Kazi Habibul Awal has said the average voter turnout in the by-elections to six constituencies – vacated by...

PM opens month-long Amar Ekushey Book Fair

Dhaka, Feb 01: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday opened the month-long 'Amar Ekushey Book Fair-2023' on the premises of the Bangla Academy and...

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisment -

Most Popular

PM slams those favouring unelected govt for interim period

Dhaka, Feb 01: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday slammed those who are talking in favour of an unelected government for an interim period,...

By-polls in 6 constituencies saw 15-25% turnout: CEC

Dhaka, Feb 01: Chief Election Commissioner Kazi Habibul Awal has said the average voter turnout in the by-elections to six constituencies – vacated by...

Govt fixes Tk 6.83 lakh for Hajj package

Dhaka, Feb 01: Bangladesh pilgrims will have to spend Taka 6.83 lakh to perform the holy hajj under the government management this year. The decision...

Democracy wins again through free, fair by-polls: Quader

Dhaka, Feb 01: Awami League (AL) General Secretary Obaidul Quader on Wednesday said democracy has once again won in the country with free and...

Recent Comments