Germany approves delivery of 14 Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz stands with German army Bundeswehr soldiers at a “Leopard 2” main battle tank during a training and instruction exercise in in Ostenholz, Germany. File/AP.

Berlin: Germany has approved the delivery of 14 Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine. The announcement was made by a German government spokesman on Wednesday that comes after weeks of hesitations that witnessed growing impatience among Kyiv and Germany’s allies.

The 14 Leopard 2 A6 tanks are from the Bundeswehr stocks. With this, Berlin is also granting approval for other European countries to send tanks from their own stocks to war-torn Ukraine, government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit said in a statement.

“The aim is to quickly assemble two tank battalions with Leopard 2 tanks for Ukraine,” Hebestreit said.

In a statement, the government said the goal is for Germany and its allies to provide with a total of two battalion, or 88 tanks, to Ukraine.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Germany was “acting in close coordination” with its allies.

The pressure on Scholz mounted this week after Poland formally asked Germany to approve sending Leopard 2 tanks from Polish stocks to Ukraine.

Poland’s prime minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, accused Germany of “delaying, being evasive and acting in a way that is difficult to understand” when it came to supplying tanks, and went so far as to claim that Berlin appeared not to want to help Ukraine.

Other European nations have also indicated willingness to part with their own battle tanks as part of a larger coalition.

Germany news weekly Der Spiegel reported that Berlin could initially approve the supply of one tank company, comprising 14 vehicles.

But Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy made clear late Tuesday that he hoped to receive a more substantial number of tanks from western allies.

“It is not about five, or 10, or 15 tanks. The need is greater,” he said.

With inputs from agencies

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