According to several reports, Germany will only send battle tanks to Ukraine if the US follows suit.
Chancellor Olaf Scholz is coming under increasing local and international pressure to provide Leopard 2 tanks made in Germany or at the very least to permit their delivery by third countries.
Poland and Finland have both committed to sending their Leopards, but they must first obtain Germany’s approval.
Berlin, though, is still in contact with the US to discuss its formal stance.
Following a summit of Ukraine’s Western partners tomorrow at the American military facility of Ramstein in southwest Germany, many anticipate a declaration.
According to reports, Mr. Scholz will only approve the Leopard tanks if US Vice President Joe Biden agrees to provide US Abrams tanks.
Colin Kahl, the chief security advisor at the Pentagon, though, stated late on Thursday that the US wasn’t ready to comply with Kyiv’s demands for the tanks.
“The Abrams tank is an extraordinarily difficult piece of machinery. It is pricey. It’s challenging to train on. It’s jet-powered, “He remarked, “Kahl.”
Reports of a standoff between Berlin and Washington over tanks, according to a senior German government source, were exaggerated, but they are raising concerns among Ukraine’s Western friends.
In order for Ukraine to beat Russia or, at the very least, protect itself against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s planned spring onslaught, it is commonly believed that the country must receive enough Western combat tanks.
However, only Britain has so far committed to providing them. Other nations, including as Germany, France, and the United States, have already sent or promised to provide armored vehicles, air defense systems, and other large pieces of equipment. Kyiv’s requests for tanks, meanwhile, are becoming more urgent.
- After making mistakes, the German defense minister resigns.
- Bakhmut’s supporters ask for Western tanks.
- The UK should send Challenger 2 tanks to Ukraine.
Why then is Mr. Scholz taking his time with their delivery?
All signs point to him allowing third countries to provide their Leopards; German Vice-Chancellor Robert Habeck stated as much about a week ago.
But Mr. Scholz hasn’t yet made a decision. He is wary for a number of reasons.
Germany is concerned about an escalation and how Vladimir Putin might respond to the provision of offensive weapons, though less so than in the past. Many specialists believe this line of thinking to be unfounded.
And in Berlin, where the country’s World War Two past still casts a long shadow, the idea of German tanks on Ukrainian land still reverberates uneasily.
Following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Mr. Scholz may have declared a “Zeitenwende” (sea-change) in Germany’s stance on defense and military policy, but he is still aware that, less than a year ago, the notion of the German government providing arms to a conflict would have been unthinkable.
The domestic opinion polls are in the Chancellor’s focus. According to a senior government source, studies indicate that, in contrast to his policies and performance in many other areas, the public is generally satisfied with his response to the Ukraine.
According to a recent poll conducted by the national broadcaster, 41% of the people believed Germany was delivering the appropriate amount of weapons, 26% said it was going too far, and 25% believed it wasn’t sending enough.
Germany’s armed forces are in a terrible situation despite Mr. Scholz’s promises that it will play a bigger military role on the international scene.
Leopards could still take months to arrive even with the Chancellor’s approval, according to a warning from Rheinmetall, a manufacturer of military hardware.
Mr. Scholz wants to coordinate with allies, especially the US, since he doesn’t want to appear to be acting alone. The announcement before tomorrow’s meeting in Ramstein is therefore unlikely.
However, his stance has angered and been denounced in international political and security circles.
They assert that Germany, who is still a political powerhouse, must assume its military obligations.