German Chancellor Olaf Scholz continues to block billions of dollars of tank supplies to Ukraine despite talks with Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal that took place during a meeting in Berlin on September 4.
According to the German newspaper Die Welt on September 6, the situation has not moved forward. The publication, citing Ukrainian government circles, reports that Shmyhal never made any commitments to receive the modern Leopard 2 battle tanks. Negotiations on this issue remained “general and unclear,” although the prime minister handed over the developed contract documentation to the German chancellor.
The German newspaper notes that Germany will not supply Ukraine with tanks until the United States does so. According to the publication Die Welt, the next meeting on the supply of weapons will be held on September 8, but does not give significant hope for positive changes in this issue.
However, on April 8, 2022, arms industry company Krauss-Maffei Wegmann said that it was ready to supply one hundred Leopard-2 tanks to Ukraine, including spare parts and training materials for soldiers. The total amount of the contract was supposed to be €1.55 bn and the first tank deliveries were supposed to begin in 36 months. The last one was anticipated in Ukraine within 65 months but KMW never received an export license from the German government.
In addition, Ukraine received an offer in April from arms manufacturer Rheinmetall for €268 m. This agreement was supposed to include the purchase of one hundred Marder infantry fighting vehicles and eighty-eight Leopard-1 battle tanks, along with training materials and ammunition. Relevant export applications were submitted immediately; however, the publication reports that Scholz has not responded over the past five months.
Instead, the German chancellor developed a plan of circular deliveries for countries of Eastern Europe to deliver old Soviet tanks to Ukraine, while Berlin would replace them with modern German equipment.
At the end of August, Slovakia agreed to replace 30 Soviet infantry fighting vehicles: Bratislava will send them to Ukraine in exchange for fifteen Leopard-2 tanks from Germany. Also, during a visit to Prague last week, Scholz announced the introduction of a second such procedure with the Czech Republic.
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