LATEST: Ukraine Will Get Leopard Tanks, What Happens Next?

In huge news, Germany is today expected to finally announce a decision on the export of its powerful Leopard battle tanks to Ukraine.

 And that decision will be…

 According to German media reports, the news looks positive.

 Berlin stopped short of giving the green light on Tuesday, but German news outlets -–including newspaper Der Spiegel and news channel NTV – reported that Chancellor Olaf Scholz would grant approval.

 Germany is also expected to grant permission for other countries, including Poland, to transfer their Leopard tanks to Ukraine.

 Berlin has so far resisted pressure from Kyiv to transfer some of its own stocks of the battle tanks, while Poland has announced it is ready to deliver 14 Leopards.


 Is this based only on media reports?

 Nope. Further indications of a positive decision came from the Free Democratic Party, a member of Germany's ruling political coalition, which tweeted on Tuesday night: "Germany sends Leopard-Panzer tanks to Ukraine!"

 German officials have also been preparing for the move. Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said he had "expressly encouraged partner countries that have Leopard tanks that are ready for deployment to train Ukrainian forces on these tanks."

 "I expect a decision to be made shortly," he added, following talks with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Berlin.

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The objective of the Summit was to develop strategies that would enhance support for Ukraine and safeguard its interests amid unparalleled security and existential threats.

 "We must provide heavier and more advanced systems to Ukraine, and we must do it faster."

 Why the hold up?

 Under Berlin's war weapons control rules, countries using German-made armaments are required to seek Berlin's permission if they wish to transfer them to a third party.

 Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said on Tuesday that the country had now sent in a formal request, and a German government spokesman said it would be examined "with necessary urgency."

 Germany – as aggressor in both World Wars – has always been incredibly cautious about how it intervenes in modern conflicts. It has dragged its feet over military supplies to Ukraine since the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine last year for fear of provoking the conflict beyond Ukraine’s borders.


 Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki accused the Germans of "dragging their feet, dithering and behaving in a manner that is difficult to understand."

 What has Ukraine said?

 In his daily address on Tuesday evening, an understandably impatient President Volodymyr Zelensky said discussions over the tank transfers "must end with decisions," and that "allies have the required number of tanks" his country has been demanding.

 In a further development, Washington is also now leaning toward sending a significant number of Abrams M1 tanks to Ukraine, U.S. officials told the Wall Street Journal.

 This would be on top of the 14 Challenger 2 tanks already pledged by the UK.

 Remind me, what’s so good about the Leopard tank?

 According to military analysts, the Leopard 2 is probably the best choice of NATO main battle tanks that could be used to equip the Ukrainian army.


 Over the years, Germany has sold thousands of them across the world and many are currently sitting unused in countries like Poland that want to send them to Ukraine, but haven’t been able to do so because they need German permission to do so.

 While Abrams and Challenger 2 tanks are great, having several different models of tanks on the battlefield poses problems in terms of the different training, logistical and repair networks required to maintain and run them all.

 What has Russia said?

 They’re not very happy about the idea of Ukraine being better able to defend itself.

 Without a hint of irony, Russia's ambassador to the U.S., Anatoly Antonov, hit back at reports about Washington mulling supplying tanks, saying that such a move would show "the real aggressor in the current conflict."

 "If the U.S. decides to supply tanks, it will be impossible to justify such a step using arguments about 'defensive weapons'," he said, according to a post on the Russian Embassy's official Facebook page.

 "This would be another blatant provocation against the Russian Federation."

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