By Anthony Marcus, for Eurasia Business News, January 24, 2023
The German newspaper Spiegel reported that the German government agreed to send at least one company of Leopard 2A6 tanks to the Ukrainian armed forces. A company is three tank platoons. Each platoon includes three tanks, as well as a control tank. That is, we are talking about ten tanks.
The decision of delivery will be officially announced on January 25 at 01:00 pm. At this time, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is scheduled to speak in the Bundestag. On the evening of the same day, he is scheduled to interview the ZDF TV channel.
According to Spiegel, German heavy tanks Leopard 2A6s have now begun to arrive from the warehouses of the Bundeswehr. In the medium and long term other German battle tanks may be prepared for dispatch and delivery to Ukraine.
The decision of the German government, apparently, was preceded by intensive consultations between Germany and other allies of Ukraine. They lasted several days. From the material of the publication it follows that negotiations were going on, including with the United States.
On January 18, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and US President Joe Biden held a telephone conversation. The media reported that during the conversation, Mr. Scholz said that he would agree to transfer tanks to Ukraine if the United States began deliveries of M1 Abrams, and Mr. Biden promised to explore the possibility of transferring these tanks.
Today, January 24, The Wall Street Journal and Sky News Arabia, citing sources in the Pentagon and the White House , reported that the US presidential administration could agree on a decision to send Ukraine from ten to a “significant number” of M1 Abrams heavy tanks.
Leopard 2 is the main battle tank of the Bundeswehr, the German armed forces. It is also in service with Austria, Hungary, Poland, Turkey, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Spain, Denmark, Greece, Finland, and the Netherlands. It has been in operation since 1979, it has many modifications, more than 3.6 thousand units of this tank were produced in total.
Almost immediately after the start of the Russian special military operation, Kyiv asked the West for modern heavy tanks. However, the coalition of allies was in no hurry to respond, confining itself to sending to Ukraine the Soviet T-72 tanks that remained in service with different countries.
One of the reasons why Berlin was in no hurry to supply tanks was the unwillingness to further aggravate relations with Moscow. “We support Ukraine. We do it in a way that does not escalate the situation to a war between Russia and NATO, because that would be a disaster, ” Olaf Scholz said in September 2022. However, the pressure on Germany grew, especially intensified after London decided to transfer 14 modern British Challenger 2 tanks to Kiev.
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