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Germany to boost Ukraine firepower with Leopard battle tanks

Arne Delfs, Michael Nienaber, Bloomberg News on

Published in News & Features

Wary of the potential to provoke Russian President Vladimir Putin, Scholz argued that any decision had to be coordinated among NATO allies and seemed to be waiting for a US commitment to send the Abrams.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Wednesday that Ukraine’s allies were overestimating the potential of the battle tanks to influence the war, calling it a “deep delusion.”

Any Abrams and Leopard tanks supplied to Ukraine will “burn just like all the others,” Peskov told reporters on a conference call, the Tass news service reported.

Germany’s European allies own hundreds of Leopard 2s in different models. Poland on Tuesday formally requested German authorization to ship Ukraine 14 of its tanks.

Finland’s Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto reiterated Wednesday that the Nordic country — which shares a border with Russia — is ready to take part in the shipment of Leopard tanks to Ukraine “in one or another way.”

Stopping short of offering its own tanks, of which Finland has about 200, Haavisto indicated it’s considering options, including providing training or spare parts.


The UK announced this month it would supply Ukraine with 14 of its Challenger 2s, the first time a Western country agreed to provide modern main battle tanks to fight Russian forces.

In his speech to parliament, Scholz sought to calm the fears of the “many citizens” who he said are concerned that sending the tanks could provoke Russian retaliation.

“That’s why I want to say to these citizens here: Trust me, trust the government,” Scholz said. “Because we are acting internationally, we will continue to ensure that this support is possible without the risks for our country increasing in the wrong direction,” he added. “That is why we are doing it this way and we will continue to do it this way.”


(With assistance from Ott Ummelas, Aaron Eglitis, Kati Pohjanpalo, Kamil Kowalcze, Chris Reiter and Christoph Rauwald.)

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