World Germany agrees to send Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine

Germany agrees to send Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine

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German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Wednesday announced that Germany will send two battalions with 14 Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine. File Photo by Clemens Bilan/EPA-EFE

Jan. 25 (BP) — German Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced Wednesday that Berlin will send its Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine in support of its defense against Russia, winning praise from its European allies.

Germany said it plans to quickly assemble two battalions with 14 Leopard 2 tanks for Ukraine with its European partners sending additional tanks. The nation will also work to train Ukrainian troops and provide logistics, ammunition and maintenance of the systems.

“This decision follows our well-known line of supporting Ukraine to the best of our ability,” Scholz said in a statement. “We are acting closely coordinated and coordinated internationally.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a tweet that he had spoken on the phone with Scholz and was “sincerely grateful” for the support.

For weeks, Scholz and the German government resisted calls from Zelensky and other Western supporters to send the tanks to improve Ukraine’s ability against more modern Russian weaponry.

The German government said the decision was made after “intensive consultations that have taken place with Germany’s closest European and international partners.” That includes NATO, where Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg visited Berlin on Tuesday.

Poland helped force the issue when it announced that it would send its own allotment of the German-made tanks it had on hand to Ukraine, with or without Berlin’s approval.

Poland’s Defense Minister Mateusz Morawiecki praised the decision to finally release the tanks.

“The decision to send Leopards to Ukraine is a big step towards stopping Russia,” he said on Twitter. “Together we are stronger.”

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, whose nation had previously committed tanks to Ukraine, said the German tanks will help Ukraine’s effort to push back Russia from its territory.

“Together, we are accelerating our efforts to ensure Ukraine wins this war and secures a lasting peace,” he said on Twitter.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday plans to send the Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine will lead to failure.

“I am convinced that many experts understand the absurdity of this idea as well, this plan is quite a failure in terms of technological aspects,” Peskov said in a news conference. “We repeat that these tanks will burn down just like all the others. Only they cost a lot, and all this will fall primarily on the shoulders of European taxpayers.”

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