Berlin, January 25
After weeks of hesitation that saw growing impatience among Germany’s allies, Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced on Wednesday that his government would provide Ukraine with Leopard 2 battle tanks and approve requests by other nations to do the same.
In a statement, the government said it would initially provide Ukraine with one company of Leopard 2 A6 tanks, which comprises 14 vehicles, from its own stocks. The goal is for Germany and its allies to provide Ukraine with a total of two battalions, or 88 tanks.
Scholz said Germany was “acting in close coordination” with its allies.
The long-awaited decision came after US officials said a preliminary agreement had been struck for the United States to send M1 Abrams tanks to help Kyiv push back Russian forces entrenched in the east almost a year since the start of the war.
Scholz had insisted that any move to provide Ukraine with powerful Leopard 2 tanks would need to be closely coordinated with Germany’s allies, chiefly the United States.
Ekkehard Brose, head of the German military’s Federal Academy for Security Policy, said tying the United States into the decision was crucial, to avoid Europe facing a nuclear-armed Russia alone.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov described German and US intentions with the tanks as a “a rather disastrous plan.” “I am convinced that many specialists understand the absurdity of this idea,” Peskov told reporters.
The far-right Alternative for Germany called the decision “irresponsible and dangerous.” The Left party, which also has historic links to Moscow, warned of a possible escalations in the ongoing conflict. — AP
Berlin abandoning historical responsibility, says Russia
- Russian embassy in Germany said that Berlin was abandoning its “historical responsibility to Russia”
- The embassy said the tank deliveries would lead to “permanent escalation” of the ongoing conflict
- “This is an extremely dangerous decision. It destroys the remnants of mutual trust,” the embassy added
Kyiv withdraws from Soledar; Russians ‘hack’ German websites
- Ukrainian forces had withdrawn from the town of Soledar in Donetsk region, military spokesman Serhiy Cherevatyi said
- Russian activist hackers knocked several German websites offline in response to Berlin’s decision to send tanks to Ukraine
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