German Tanks Roll East: Berlin Approves Leopard 2s for Ukraine

FILE --A Leopard 2 tank is pictured during a demonstration event held for the media by the
AP Photo/Michael Sohn, File

The German government officially announced Wednesday its Leopard 2 main battle tanks are approved for use in Ukraine, with other countries given the chance to do the same.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Germany was “acting in close coordination” with its allies, AP reports.

In a statement, the government said it will initially provide Ukraine with one company of Leopard 2 A6 tanks, which comprises 14 vehicles, from its own stocks.

The ultimate goal is to provide Ukraine with a total of two battalions together with other countries, with France already having made its commitment public, along with Britain which will send Challenger 2 main battle tanks to the war zone.

The long-awaited decision came after U.S. 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, as Breitbart News reported.

Scholz had long insisted any German move to provide Ukraine with powerful Leopard 2 tanks would need to be closely coordinated with Germany’s allies, chiefly the United States.

That has now been confirmed on both sides of the Atlantic.

File/ German Chancellor Olaf Scholz walks past a Leopard 2 main battle tank of the Bundeswehr while visiting an army training center in Ostenholz on October 17, 2022 near Hodenhagen, Germany. Scholz has vowed to modernize Germany’s armed forces with a special EUR 100 billion budget following Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine. (David Hecker/Getty Images)

By getting Washington to commit some of its own tanks Berlin hopes to spread the risk of any backlash from Russia.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov described German and U.S. intentions with the main battle tanks as a “a rather disastrous plan,” the AP report outlined.

“I am convinced that many specialists understand the absurdity of this idea,” Peskov told reporters Wednesday.

“Simply because of technological aspects, this is a rather disastrous plan. The main thing is, this is a completely obvious overestimation of the potential (the supply of tanks) would add to the armed forces of Ukraine. It is yet another fallacy, a rather profound one,” the Kremlin official said.

Peskov predicted “these tanks will burn down just like all the other ones. … Except they cost a lot, and this will fall on the shoulders of European taxpayers.” he added.

Elsewhere, E.U. Parliament member Guy Verhofstadt applauded the move as a step towards broader E.U. military cooperation, even if it remains dependent on U.S. approval.

From 2019, Verhofstadt has been a member of the E.U. Working Group on the Conference on the Future of Europe.

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