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West fails to make decision on sending tanks to Ukraine

Despite holding a summit in Germany, the West has failed to reach an agreement to send the much-needed Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine.

The US and its allies hoped to persuade Berlin to allow Kyiv to use the powerful battle tanks as part of Ukraine’s struggle against Russia.

The UK has already committed to sending 14 Challenger 2 main battle tank, in the hopes of encouraging Germany to reciprocate, while Poland stated that it would be willing to send some of its Leopard 2s to Berlin, if Berlin agrees.

Representatives from more than 50 allies met Friday at an American air base in Germany to discuss the possibility of a meeting Ukrainian defence chiefs. This would hopefully end the long back-and forths.

Image Participants at the meeting at Ramstein Air Base

Kyiv claims that the tanks will increase the capability of its armed forces, enabling them to launch offensive operations against Russian positions.

Despite repeated pleas by Kyiv officials, the summit at Ramstein’s air base did not result in an agreement on tanks.

Ukraine war: West fails in decision to send tanks to Ukraine

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The talks ended with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy acknowledging that Kyiv must continue fighting for heavy armour.

He said that the Ramstein meeting would have strengthened Ukraine’s resilience, but ended instead with billions in commitments.

Image Ukrainian Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov gestures while he talks with Jens Stoltenberg, Secretary General of NATO.

He said, “Yes, we will continue to fight for modern tanks delivery, but each day we make it clearer that there is no other option to making a decision about tanks.”

Lloyd Austin, the US defense secretary, attended the summit along with his counterparts from Germany and Ukraine. He stated that Ukraine was well-equipped even if it didn’t have the Leopard 2s.

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It also announced a $2.5 billion (PS2bn), package in military assistance ahead of Friday’s talks. This includes Stryker armoured personnel carrier and additional Bradley fighting vehicles.

German sources suggest that Berlin might change its reluctance for Leopard tanks being sent to Ukraine if the US sends Abrams tanks.

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Boris Pistorius, the Defence Chief, resigned this week. His predecessor had to resign. He defended the position of his country and said that Germany “never fear anything” for allowing Leopard 2s.

“We have to take responsibility for the population of Germany and Europe, and we must balance all the pro and con before we make decisions like this,” said Mr Pistorius.

Why is Ukraine interested in Leopard 2 tanks

Dominic Waghorn

International Affairs Editor


Although the Ukrainians have many tanks, they also have T tanks. The T-64 and T-72 are vulnerable to Russian attack and are old. Modern battle tanks are needed to repel a Russian springtime offensive. They are more protected, more powerful, and less deadly.

The German-made Leopard 2 is the best tank for Ukraine. Tanks are evaluated on their ability and resistance to attack.

The Leopard 2 is fast, can be targeted at high speed and has excellent protection from armour. Importantly, it is operated by 14 European countries. Therefore, spare parts are readily available.

The UK is sending Challengers, a highly-capable tank, but it can only spare about a dozen. Ukraine needs 300 tanks. Experts believe that if the country gets 100 tanks, it will make a significant difference. Read more

Oleskii Reznikov, Ukraine’s Defense Minister, stated on Twitter that he had a “frank conversation” with Mr Pistorius Friday regarding the supply of Leopard tanks. He also said that they would continue to have talks.

General Mark Milley, the top US military officer, tried to show unity.

General Milley stated, “I believe that over my 43-years in uniform, I think this is the most united I’ve ever seen NATO.”


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