Ukraine, tanks arrive: Germany and the USA send Leopard and Abrams

Berlin has decided: yes to sending. Biden’s announcement is awaited. Zelensky: “Ten tanks are not enough”

Ukraine is about to receive the tanks that President Volodymyr Zelensky has been asking for for months. Germany and the United States are preparing to send the tanks – Leopard 2 and Abrams – which Kiev awaits for the new phase of the war with Russia. In the end, after weeks of pressing, Olaf Scholz’s yes came. The German chancellor, as Der Spiegel and the Dpa agency anticipated, said ‘ja’ and Germany, with a decision that marks a watershed in the country’s history, will supply the tanks to Ukraine. Not only that: Berlin, which would send at least one company of A6 Leopard 2 tanks currently supplied to the Bundeswehr, will also allow ‘client’ countries to send German-made tanks to Kiev.

At least 12 countries intend to make their Leopard 2 tanks available. Finland and Poland have already publicly indicated their intention to supply the tanks, but according to the source, Spain, the Netherlands and Denmark also said they were available.

ZELENSKY – “We talk about the modern tanks we need and how this shortage can be filled. A lot of effort, words, promises. But it is important to see the reality: it is not about 5, 10 or 15 tanks. The needs are greater . I thank all those who support us in this. However, discussions must end with decisions”, Zelensky said. “The allies have the required number of tanks” needed by the Ukrainian army.

GERMANY – The German turn must be inserted in a general framework, which involves the United States. President Joe Biden’s administration is geared towards sending a significant number of Abrams M1 tanks to Ukraine, according to the Wall Street Journal scenario based on information provided by official sources. The official announcement from Washington could come this week.

USA – The US initiative will take place as part of “a broader understanding with Germany, under which Berlin will agree to send a number of its own Leopard 2 tanks and will approve Poland’s sending of other German-made tanks and other countries,” the Wall Street Journal reports. Germany would agree to send would be less than the Abrams that will be sent from Washington.

BIDEN-SCHOLZ – A conversation between Biden and Scholz would have been decisive to unblock the situation. On January 17, the US president and the German chancellor would have had a telephone conversation: Biden opened to sending tanks despite the previous negative assessments by the Pentagon, which highlighted the ‘minuses’ of the Abrams: these armored vehicles need large quantities of fuel and other logistical situations which would limit its effectiveness in Ukraine. Dialogue between Washington and Berlin developed for a week up to substantial white smoke.

HOW MANY LEOPARDS ARE – Germany has a stock of 320 Leopard 2 tanks, a German defense spokeswoman told CNN, without however clarifying how many of these tanks requested by Ukraine are operational. These are Leopard 2s of the A5, A6 and A7 series which are in various stages of battle-deployment or repair readiness. The Army no longer has the Leopard 1, nor the older A4-series Leopard 2 models.

Outside the military, arms manufacturer Rheinmetall said last week it has a stock of 139 Leopards, of which only 29 are combat-ready and could be supplied this spring. However these tanks have already been promised to third countries in exchanges with countries that sent old Soviet tanks to Ukraine. The rest of the stock is not yet operational: of the 88 remaining tanks, only a few could be delivered in nine months and the others in a year. Another German arms company, the Ffg, has 99 Leopards, but these are the old Leopard 1 model.