In what seems like a change of policy, Olaf Scholz ,the German Chancellor has agreed to supply Ukraine with Leopard 2 battle tanks.This is according media reports, Berlin has succumbed to weeks of pressure to give Kyiv the heavier weapons it says it needs to drive back invading Russian forces.
The news comes as officials in the United States told media that Washington was also poised to start a process that would eventually send dozens of M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine’s front lines.
A US government source has said there would be an announcement at the White House regarding the provision of the Abrams. A source familiar with the matter told the Reuters news agency that the US commitment could total about 30 Abrams to be delivered over the coming months.
Berlin has also granted other countries, such as Poland and Finland, the licence to re-export their stocks of German-made tanks to Ukraine, German media reported on Tuesday citing unnamed government sources. Countries that buy military weapons from Germany are generally required to obtain permission from Berlin before re-exporting those weapons to another country.Pre Birthday interview: Birthday Party of Haija Faidat Sarumi Akintunde
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The Spiegel media outlet, which first reported the news of Scholz agreeing to provide tanks to Ukraine, said Germany would provide at least one company of Leopard 2A6 tanks out of the German army’s — the Bundeswehr’s — stocks. Generally, equipping a company means handing over more than 14 tanks.
The Kremlin has said supplying tanks to Ukraine would not change matters and that the West would regret its “delusion” that Kyiv could win on the battlefield against Russia.
Russia’s ambassador to the US said the possible delivery of Abrams tanks to Kyiv by Washington would be “another blatant provocation” against Moscow.
“It is obvious that Washington is purposefully trying to inflict a strategic defeat on us,” ambassador Anatoly Antonov said in remarks published on the embassy’s Telegram messaging app on Wednesday.
“If the United States decides to supply tanks, then justifying such a step with arguments about ‘defensive weapons’ will definitely not work. This would be another blatant provocation against the Russian Federation,” he said.
Until now, the US has resisted providing the M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, citing extensive and complex maintenance and logistical challenges with the high-tech weapons. Washington believed it would be more productive to send German Leopards since many allies have them and Ukrainian troops would need less training than on the more complex Abrams.