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Germany refuses to shift position on tanks for Ukraine despite pressure

Germany refuses to shift position on tanks for Ukraine despite pressure

A new Leopard 2 A7V heavy battle tank, the most advanced version of the German-made tank.

Sean Gallup | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Germany has again refused to commit to allowing German-made tanks to be sent to Ukraine despite intense pressure.

German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said Tuesday there has been no change in Berlin’s position on whether to allow German-made Leopard 2 tanks to be sent to Ukraine, or on permitting other countries with German-made tanks to send their units to Kyiv. He added that the government still needed to assess the situation.

“I can tell you there is no new information here, the situation has not changed, and we are preparing our decision, which will come very soon,” he said at a joint press conference with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.

“We are looking into the matter, what the current status is regarding our Leopard tanks,” he said in translated comments. He noted that Berlin was looking not only at its inventory and industry stocks, but also at the compatibility of its tanks for combat in Ukraine, as well as issues around the logistics of supply and maintenance.

Aware that Berlin’s reluctance over tanks has attracted widespread criticism, Pistorius insisted that Germany was one of Ukraine’s top military supporters aside from the U.S. and U.K., and that this was “often forgotten in the public discussion.”

The latest comments from Berlin come after months of pressure on German government to offer Ukraine some of its Leopard 2 tanks, or to allow its allies to export their own German-made battle tanks to the war-torn country.

A defense summit last Friday at the Ramstein air base failed to deliver an agreement on tanks for Kyiv and, until now, only the U.K. had pledged to send 14 of its own Challenger 2 tanks to Ukraine.

A Challenger 2 main battle tank on display for The Royal Tank Regiment Regimental Parade, on Sept. 24, 2022, in Bulford, England.

Finnbarr Webster | Getty Images News | Getty Images

On Tuesday, NATO’s Stoltenberg sought to defend Germany from what is likely to be inevitable criticism following this latest refusal to budge on tanks, saying he was “confident that we will have a solution soon.”

He noted that the war had reached a “pivotal moment,” however, and that allies “must provide heavier units to Ukraine. And we must do it faster.”

Kyiv has for months pleaded with its allies for heavy battle tanks that it says could be decisive in the outcome of the war.

Germany was believed to be reluctant to…

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