German tank deliveries for Ukraine hinge on US – Politico
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz will follow US President Joe Biden’s lead on whether to support Kiev with Leopard 2 main battle tanks to help in its fight against Russia, Politico reported on Wednesday, citing anonymous sources.
The UK announced that it would provide Ukraine with main battle tanks, and Poland said it would transfer a company of Leopard 2 panzers to Kiev “as part of coalition building.” Berlin, however, has yet to greenlight Poland’s re-export of the hardware.
According to two unnamed German officials, Scholz’s position on the matter “depended heavily” on Biden. In a joint statement last week, both leaders announced that Washington would donate Bradley infantry fighting vehicles to Kiev, and Berlin would send a batch of Marder IVFs and a Patriot air defense system.
Commenting on the UK’s initiative to supply Ukraine with tanks, the German government spokesman said that “there is no change in the situation now because of the step that the British government has announced.” He added that he was not aware of any requests from allies to send Leopard battle tanks to Ukraine.
In recent weeks, Germany has faced mounting pressure to provide Ukraine with Leopard 2 tanks, but has been reluctant to do so, with Scholz arguing that no other NATO country has sent this type of tank to Ukraine, and Germany should not be the first. He added that such moves should be coordinated with allies.
Russia has repeatedly warned Western countries against sending arms to Ukraine, arguing that it will only prolong the hostilities. On Tuesday, Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov accused NATO and the US of “definitely taking part in this conflict, although indirectly, by proxy,” as they continue to send weapons.