According to Chancellor Olaf Scholz, the German federal government now wants to quickly assemble two tank battalions with Leopard 2 tanks. Defense Minister Boris Pistorius explained the time frame on Wednesday: The first devices could be in Ukraine in three months. The training of Ukrainian soldiers should start as soon as possible.
Now it is also necessary to start clarifying the supply routes as soon as possible, Pistorius explained after a meeting of the Bundestag Defense Committee in Berlin. For the SPD politician, the decision to supply German main battle tanks is “historic because it was coordinated internationally and because it happened in a very explosive situation in Ukraine”. The federal government will also allow its partner countries to supply their own Leopard tanks to Ukraine. Poland submitted a corresponding application on Tuesday.
Moscow: “Another blatant provocation”
Russia warned that supplying Western main battle tanks would escalate the war. The United States’ delivery of main battle tanks would be “another blatant provocation,” Russian U.S. Ambassador Anatoly Antonov said Wednesday. “It is clear that Washington is deliberately trying to inflict strategic defeat on us,” he added on Telegram. “If the United States decides to supply tanks, then you absolutely cannot justify such a move with the ‘defensive weapons’ argument.”
Biden’s tank announcement expected
Washington is now also expected to officially announce that it will supply its own Abrams-type main battle tanks. On Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal reported that an announcement could come later this week about the commitment of “an increased number” of M1 Abrams to counter Russia’s offensive war. US President Joe Biden promised Scholz in a telephone conversation last week that he would have such a delivery checked, the newspaper reports based on unnamed sources.