Germany still deliberating supplying Kiev with Leopard tanks
NATO countries and their allies failed to reach a consensus on the supply of German tanks to Kiev.
Following the contact group conference on Ukraine support, NATO members and their partners were unable to reach a plenary consensus on the provision of German tanks to Kiev. However, German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius revealed on Friday, that Berlin would continue deliberating this option for future possibilities.
Read more: MWM: Why won't Germany, US send Leopard 2, Abrams tanks to Ukraine?
The group met on January 20th at the US-operated airbase, Ramstein, in Germany. Earlier, Jens Stoltenberg, the Secretary-General of NATO, was hopeful that the conference will lead to decisions on delivering heavy weapons to Kiev.
The German Defense Minister revealed that earlier today he had requested an inspection of these types of tanks to make a final decision over supplying them to Kiev.
"We discussed the possible delivery of Leopard tanks. I must say that there is no consensus on this issue," minister Boris Pistorius told reporters.
Read more: Germany may supply 10-15 Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine this year
Pistorius asserted that arming Ukraine with German tanks has potential advantages and disadvantages, which need to be well deliberated and assessed before taking a final decision.
He emphasized that "We cannot say when and what decision will be made on the Leopard tanks,"
The minister explained that Germany had a personal responsibility of maintaining and attending to its own army.
The German army has already given up most of its Leopard tanks of older designs and exported them to Turkey, Greece, and Denmark, among other clients. The army still possesses around 300 modern versions but they reportedly have no plans of selling them. The army refused to provide additional details on the strengths, and equipment of associations, or units.
Read more: Scheduled delivery of German Leopard tanks to Kiev set after 2024
The minister however vowed to continue supplying Ukraine with weapons and equipment "in unchanged form"; He assured that Germany would be fulfilling its promises in regards to the anticipated delivery of the self-propelled antiaircraft gun Gepard, the infantry combat vehicle Marder, and the air defense systems Patriot and IRIS-T.
American refusal to send Abrams, its own main battle tanks, has made Berlin reluctant to agree to send its own Leopards. Parties in the Chancellor's coalition, including the Free Democrats and the Green Party, are in favor of sending the tanks to Kiev, while his left-leaning party, the Social Democrats, have been hesitant on the decision, especially since Washington is rejecting to send its Abrams.
In April last year, Olaf Scholz, the german chancellor, suggested that sending any Western tanks to Ukraine would increase the risk of a nuclear war between NATO and Russia.
Read more: Germany: No Leopard tanks to Kiev unless US agrees to send its Abrams