Germany will not allow tanks to be exported to Ukraine unless the United States sends its missiles
The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that Berlin will not allow allies to send German-made tanks into Ukraine in the face of the ongoing Russian invasion, or to send their systems unless Washington sends its American-made tanks.
A senior German official told the Wall Street Journal: “It is not possible to distinguish between direct exports (of German-made tanks) and exports by third countries.”
The German-made Leopard, a powerful battle tank that Kyiv seeks to advance against Moscow, could have a “significant” impact.
But Ukrainian forces will need to be trained quickly to use the sometimes complex equipment, and they will also need maintenance.
While the European allies have sent Ukraine hundreds of modern Soviet tanks since the Russian invasion, Kyiv has pleaded for more advanced Western weaponry to bolster its fight against Moscow.
The German-made Leopard 2 is regarded as one of the best performing models worldwide and is widely used throughout Europe, which means that spare parts and ammunition can be easily obtained.
universally recognized comprehensive
The Leopard 2 was first produced in the late 1970s to replace the American M48 Patton and later the Leopard 1, and is known for its firepower, mobility and robust armor.
As the German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung put it, Leopard 2 is “a bit like a (Volkswagen’s) golf game for the German tank industry: It’s a world-renowned multiplayer wargame.”
About 3,500 of the 60-ton battle tanks, developed by German arms manufacturer Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW), were produced.
They are armed with a 120mm smoothbore gun, can engage the enemy on the move and can travel at up to 70 kilometers (44 miles) per hour, with a range of up to 450 kilometres.
The tanks provide “all-round protection” for troops from threats such as mines, anti-tank fire and improvised explosive devices, according to the manufacturer.
They are equipped with technology that allows their crews of four to locate and target enemies from a distance.
The last four models are still in use, from 2A4 to 2A7.
How quickly can they arrive?
Hesitation to send heavy tanks to Ukraine began to lift this month, with Poland saying it was ready to send Kyiv 14 Leopard 2 tanks as part of an international coalition. Finland said it did not oppose the shipments.
German media has reported that several countries are willing to join an international effort to transfer equipment to Ukraine.
According to experts, the best approach would be for all countries willing to contribute 2A4 tanks.
“The model itself is very important for training and logistics purposes,” General Bruno Kasdorf, a former German army inspector, told the RND media group.
However, it is not clear how quickly they will arrive.
German arms manufacturer Rheinmetall, which supplies the Leopard 2 cannon and electronics and has dozens of older models, has warned that it will not be able to deliver its tanks to Ukraine until 2024 due to the need to refurbish and overhaul them.
Officials also warn that once the tanks arrive, Ukrainian forces will need a quick training in how to use the equipment, which is far more sophisticated than the Soviet-era tanks they were used to.
It will be while trying to get another batch of new materiel to arrive in Ukraine, including the recently pledged French AMX-10 RC light tanks, German Marder infantry vehicles, and Bradley fighting vehicles.
However, experts are convinced that cheetahs can make a difference.
If Kyiv receives about 100 of them, the effect will be “significant,” according to British think tank the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS).
Equipped with the Leopard 2, “the army can break through enemy lines and put an end to a long period of trench warfare,” Rheinmetall CEO Armin Papperger told the leading German tabloid newspaper Bild.
“With the Cheetah, the soldiers can advance tens of kilometers at a time.”