Germany now wants to deliver Leopard 2 main battle tanks and also approve the delivery to countries like Poland. On Wednesday, the USA followed suit and announced the delivery of 31 Abrams tanks. All news in the ticker.
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Thursday, January 26, 2023, 6:49 a.m.: Federal Defense Minister Boris Pistorius (SPD) informed his Polish counterpart Mariusz Blaszczak about the details of the German delivery of Leopard main battle tanks to Ukraine. “The Polish initiative to support our eastern neighbors with modern tanks is entering the implementation phase,” Blaszczak wrote on Twitter on Wednesday evening. The federal government had previously decided that Germany would hand over 14 Leopard 2A6 main battle tanks to the Ukrainians as a first step.
Poland had put considerable pressure on Germany in the discussion about the supply of main battle tanks. The week before last, President Andrzej Duda announced that Ukraine would be given 14 Leopard main battle tanks. On Tuesday, the Polish government submitted a corresponding export application to the federal government, which must agree to the transfer of the German tanks, and thus put Berlin under further pressure to act. It is now clear that the German government will approve the Polish application to transfer the tanks made in Germany.
7:14 p.m .: After Germany and other countries, Norway also wants to make Leopard main battle tanks available to Ukraine. The Norwegian government supports letting Ukraine have tanks and will do its part, Defense Minister Bjørn Arild Gram said on Norwegian radio station NRK on Wednesday evening. This is happening as part of broad collaboration with allies and partners. He cannot yet say how many of the country’s 36 Leopard tanks will be delivered. But it is about Leopard 2A4 tanks.
6:02 p.m .: The United States is delivering 31 M1 Abrams main battle tanks to Ukraine. US President Joe Biden said on Wednesday after the German government announced the delivery of German Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine. The US delivery is the size of a Ukrainian tank battalion, Biden said in the White House. However, according to a US government representative, “months” should pass before the US battle tanks are actually delivered.
US President Joe Biden has thanked Chancellor Olaf Scholz for his “strong leadership” and “unwavering commitment” to supporting Ukraine. Germany has really made itself strong, the Chancellor is a strong voice for unity and a close friend, said Biden in Washington on Wednesday.
Germany and the US government had previously announced that they would send battle tanks to Ukraine to ward off Russian aggression. “Germany hasn’t forced me to change my mind,” Biden said when asked by a journalist about the US government’s change of heart on the delivery of Abrams tanks. “The United States stands with its allies and partners and will continue to do whatever we can to support Ukraine,” Biden said.
Wednesday, January 25, 1:20 p.m.: According to Defense Minister Boris Pistorius, the first Leopard battle tanks from Germany could be in Ukraine in about three months. The SPD politician said on Wednesday after a meeting of the Bundestag’s Defense Committee in Berlin. The training is now beginning very quickly and the supply routes will be clarified very quickly.
Pistorius called the decision to deliver the tanks “historic” because it was coordinated, in a “highly explosive situation in Ukraine.” But he also said: “That’s no reason to celebrate”, he had great understanding for those who were worried. “But it is clear that we will not become a war party, we will see to that.”
For the planned two Leopard 2 battalions for the Ukraine, Germany wants to provide the Bundeswehr “in a first step with a company with 14 Leopard 2 A6 tanks”, as the federal government explained. In the Bundeswehr, a Leopard 2 battalion consists of 44 tanks. Two battalions would therefore be 88 tanks.
9:26 p.m .: Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann (FDP), Chairwoman of the Defense Committee, news of the Leopard delivery. “The decision was tough, it took way too long, but it’s inevitable in the end,” she wrote on Twitter.
8:48 p.m .: Union faction leader Friedrich Merz welcomed the federal government’s decision to deliver Leopard battle tanks to Ukraine, but at the same time accused Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) of hesitation. “The decision is correct,” said the CDU chairman on Tuesday evening of the German Press Agency in Berlin.
At the same time, Merz criticized the fact that if the Chancellor had announced such a decision together with the French President (Emmanuel Macron) at the Franco-German Council of Ministers on Sunday at the 60th anniversary of the Élysée Treaty in Paris, then this would have been joint political leadership. So the image of a driven person who has hesitated too long remains.”
8:23 p.m .: The chairman of the European Committee in the Bundestag, Anton Hofreiter (Greens), has welcomed the planned delivery of Leopard main battle tanks to Ukraine. “The reports that Leopard tanks are also being sent from Germany to Ukraine are very positive news,” he told the editorial network Germany (RND, Tuesday). “We need strong and sustained support for Ukraine until the Putin regime understands that negotiations are a better option than continuing the war. Of course, it would have been better if the decision had been made more quickly, especially for Germany’s reputation in Europe. But better late than never.” Hofreiter added: “Putin still thinks he can win this war. We have to make it clear to him that this is not going to happen.”
The defense policy spokesman for the SPD parliamentary group, Wolfgang Hellmich, told the RND: “I would consider such a decision to be correct. This is especially true in light of reports about the delivery of Abrams main battle tanks by the USA. This would confirm the Chancellor’s line. Because his goal was always to make the tank deliveries together.”
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