Germany and the USA could announce plans to send tanks to Ukraine today.
Sky News has learned that American officials are planning to soon send Abrams tanks into the country to fight Russia’s invasion.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz will address parliament at noon, where he will confirm media reports that Leopard 2 tanks would be sent to the frontline.
Although there is no official confirmation from Washington or Berlin, Ukrainian officials celebrated what they called a game-changer.
“A few hundred tanks to our tank crews – the best tank crews anywhere in the world. This is what’s going to be a real punching fist for democracy against the autocracy of the bog,” Andriy Yermak, the head President Volodymyr Zilenskyy wrote on Telegram.
In his evening address, Mr Zelenskyy was more careful and stated: “There is much talk about tanks now, the modern tanks that we need, and how to fill this gap. Many words, promises, and efforts. It is important to recognize that it is not just five tanks, but ten or fifteen tanks. It is more important than ever.
Der Spiegel reports that Germany plans to send at most one Leopard 2 tank company to Germany. Typically, one company is made up of 14 tanks.
Berlin is expected to also announce that it will grant Poland’s request for the transfer of German-made Leopard 2 tanks from Germany to Ukraine.
Mateusz Morawiecki, the Polish Prime Minister, stated Tuesday that the Poles and other Western allies were training Ukrainian soldiers in Poland on the Leopards.
Kyiv has been asking for tanks from the West for several months to provide its forces with the mobility and firepower it needs to defeat Russian defense lines and retake Russian territory.
Continue reading: What’s the Leopard 2 battle tank?
Moscow could escalate tensions by making Germany wary
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz had been holding back from the move by Social Democrat party, fearful that it might cause Moscow to escalate.
Dmitry Peskov, a Kremlin spokesperson, stated that the deployment of Western tanks could have “unambiguously negative” effects.
The German-made Leopards are used by armies all over Europe as they are easily deployable and easy to maintain.
The US M1 Abrams, due to its high fuel consumption and difficulty in maintenance, is considered less appropriate. However, a move to supply tanks would seem to be designed to make it easier to Germany. Germany has asked for unity among allies to allow supply of Leopards.
According to reports, the procurement of the tanks will likely be done through the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative fund. This could mean that the delivery time for the tanks could be months or even years.
The UK had announced that it would send a squadron 14 Challenger 2 tanks to Ukraine in the “coming weeks”.
After Sky News revealed that the UK was looking at supplying Ukraine with British tanks, it happened.