German officials claim that allies may start preparing Ukraine to use Leopard tanks

German officials claim that allies may start preparing Ukraine to use Leopard tanks

As NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg projected that a decision about the transfer of Leopard tanks would be made "soon," Germany's defence minister indicated on Tuesday that allies might begin preparing Ukrainian soldiers to deploy them.
Germany has recently been under significant international pressure to approve the shipment of powerful Leopard tanks built in Germany to Ukraine so that it can fend off Russian invasion.

Despite an increasing chorus of complaints from many of its friends, Berlin has so far refused to provide authorization.

Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said on Tuesday that he has "expressly pushed partner nations who have Leopard tanks that are ready for deployment to train Ukrainian troops on these tanks," suggesting that a decision may be coming soon.

Ahead of a meeting with Stoltenberg in Berlin, he continued, "I anticipate a decision to be taken quickly.

Stoltenberg appreciated the minister's "clear message," noting that it would take some time to prepare the battle tanks and train Ukrainian troops to operate them if a decision had been made to transfer them.

He continued, saying he anticipated a decision "soon."

Stoltenberg said that "we must do it quicker" and "we must deploy heavier and more sophisticated equipment to Ukraine."

He said that Moscow has not indicated that it would reverse its invasion strategy.

"There is no evidence to suggest that President (Vladimir) Putin has altered his objectives. Making it obvious to Putin that he will not prevail on the battlefield is the only way to achieve long-lasting peace "said he.

Increasing Pressure

Berlin was not against the delivery of Leopards, as Pistorius had emphasised before; Berlin had just not taken a decision.

In an interview with ZDF, he said, "We are backing Ukraine to not lose this war, to win it against Russia.

"And Germany is doing more to that purpose than almost any other ally apart from the US," the author said.

When asked when Germany will decide on Leopard tanks, Pistorius said that he had no control over it.

He said, "The chancellery will decide on this."

Additionally, he defended Chancellor Olaf Scholz against claims that he hesitated before approving the supply of Leopards.

Taking the initiative does not entail charging forward aimlessly, he continued. "And that's simply how it is if the decision takes another day or two."

Last week, Pistorius started his new job at a critical moment for the German Defense Ministry.

Numerous countries have committed military equipment for Ukraine, but Kiev is clamouring for the more powerful Leopard tanks, which are seen to be essential for breaking through enemy lines.

Several EU countries utilise the tanks, but according to Germany's war weapons control legislation, these countries need Berlin's approval before sending the German-made weaponry to Ukraine.

By announcing on Monday that it would be willing to send the tanks regardless of approval, Poland increased the pressure on Berlin.

But Pistorius argued that the Western supporters of Ukraine were united.

He warned observers "not to wantonly conjure up this imagined split inside NATO."