Germany may supply 10-15 Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine this year
This act may be the result of giving in to pressure following a push from Poland and the UK.
Citing industry sources, German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) reported that there is a possibility that Germany may ship 10-15 Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine this year. This comes after the chief executive of German defense group Rheinmetall, Armin Papperger, told Germany's Bild am Sonntag that even though his firm houses 22 Leopard 2 tanks, and 88 Leopard 1 tanks, it would still take about a year to ship them to Ukraine.
That means that even if it is decided immediately to transfer the tanks to Ukraine, the delivery would not take place until 2024. Bild am Sonntag quoted an industry spokesperson as stating: "We need a decision today," In case the order is placed as soon as possible, it would only be possible to supply one Leopard 2 tank per week.
Rheinmetall cannot repair the tanks without a contract, Papperger said, because the costs go beyond several hundred million euros. Leopard tanks could, however, play a decisive role in the war, he noted. "With battle tanks, an army can break through enemy lines and end a prolonged trench warfare. With the Leopard tanks, soldiers can advance tens of kilometers at a time."
This act may be the result of giving in to pressure following a push from Poland and the UK. Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki demanded on Monday, during a visit to Berlin, that Germany give up its opposition to a Warsaw-led initiative to send tanks to Ukraine.
"There is no reason today to block support for Kiev. I call on the German government to act decisively and send all types of weapons to Ukraine," he said. It is worth noting that Poland has been a major supporter of Kiev, delivering more than 240 T-72s to Ukraine since the outbreak of the war.
The UK, on the other hand, declared last Saturday that it intends to send Challenger 2 tanks to Ukraine, which the Russian Embassy in the UK regarded as an act of pressure against the EU to send more weapons.