Twelve European countries have agreed to supply Ukraine with around 100 Leopard 2 tanks if the German government gives its consent. Poland and Finland have already indicated publicly that they are willing to provide a number of their Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine. Those agreements, were made at Friday’s summit at Ramstein US Air Force Base in Germany when allied nations discussed military support for Ukraine. Spain, Denmark and the Netherlands were also willing to provide some of their tanks; however, Germany’s consent was still necessary for the coalition of countries to proceed on the matter. As the country where the military hardware is manufactured, Germany has to approve the export license if countries want to supply some of their tanks to a third nation, such as Ukraine.
The Prime Minister of Poland Mateusz Morawiecki said his country ready to send German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine even if Germany does not give formal permission for such transfers. Poland will seek Germany’s permission, but that asking for Berlin’s approval is of secondary importance. Poland are constantly exerting pressure on the government in Berlin to make its Leopards available. German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock reported that if Poland were to request permission to send its Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, they would not stand in the way. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Sunday did not say whether Germany would agree to provide Ukraine with battle tanks, he als said such decisions would be made in coordination with allies including the United States.
The Biden administration and other western governments are working to increase Ukraine’s military capabilities ahead of a possible escalation in the fighting in the coming weeks or months. The new battle tanks were also urgently needed by Ukraine because its stocks of ammunition for its soviet-era tanks are “running out.” Ukraine is unable to produce new ammunition for these Soviet era tanks, so this forced us to find an alternative way. Earlier this month the U.K. made a symbolic gesture by pledging to supply Ukraine with 14 of its Challenger 2 tanks. Germany has faced criticism for delaying its decision on whether to approve the export of Leopard 2 main battle tanks.
The Leopard 2 is a 3rd generation main battle tank originally developed by Krauss-Maffei in the 1970s for the West German army. The tank entered service in 1979 and succeeded the earlier Leopard 1 main battle tank. It is armed with a 120 mm smoothbore cannon made by Rheinmetall, and is powered by a V-12 twin-turbo diesel engine made by MTU Friedrichshafen. Various versions have served in the armed forces of Germany and 13 other European countries, as well as several non-European nations, including Canada, Chile, Indonesia, and Singapore. The Leopard 2 was used in Kosovo with the German Army, in Afghanistan with the Dutch, Danish and Canadian contributions to the International Security Assistance Force, and saw action in Syria with the Turkish Armed Forces.