Germany and the United States would send tanks to Ukraine to help the country fight off the Russian invasion.
Although there has been no official confirmation from Berlin or Washington, Ukrainian officials celebrated what they said was a potential game-changer.
“A few hundred tanks for our tank crews – the best tank crews in the world. This is what will become a real
punch of democracy against autocracy from the bog,” Andriy Yermak, the head of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s administration, wrote on Telegram.
US President Joe Biden’s administration is reportedly ready to approve the shipment of M1 Abrams tanks, while Germany is reportedly preparing to send Leopard 2 tanks.
Germany’s move affects at least one Leopard 2 tank company, Der Spiegel magazine said. A company is usually made up of 14 tanks.
Berlin is also expected to announce that it will approve Poland’s request to transfer German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine.
On Tuesday, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said the Poles – and other Western allies he did not identify – were already training Ukrainian soldiers on the Leopards in Poland.
Kyiv has been advocating for months for Western nations to send in tanks to give its forces the firepower and mobility it hopes will be able to break through Russian defensive lines and retake Russian-occupied territory.
What is the Leopard 2 battle tank?
Germany’s cautious move could lead to further escalation in Moscow
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s Social Democratic Party had held back, fearing it would cause further escalation in Moscow.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the deployment of Western tanks would lead to “unambiguously negative” consequences.
German-made Leopards, used by armies across Europe, are widely considered the best option as they are available in large numbers and are easy to deploy and maintain.
Meanwhile, the American M1 Abrams is seen as a less suitable option due to its high fuel consumption and difficulty in servicing, but a decision to supply the tanks would seem designed to make it easier for Germany, which has called for a united front between the allies of Ukraine, to allow the supply of Leopards.
Officials reportedly said the tanks would likely be purchased through the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI) fund, in a process that could take months or even years for the tanks to be delivered.
UK to send Challenger 2 tanks
Earlier this month, the UK announced he would send a squadron of 14 Challenger 2 tanks to Ukraine “in the next weeks”.
It comes after Sky News exclusively revealed the UK planned to supply Ukraine with British tanks.