Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced Wednesday that his government would provide Ukraine with Leopard 2 battle tanks and approve requests by other countries to do the same. "This is an important game changer possibly also in this war, at least in the current phase of the war," German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius said.
Ottawa will donate four of the Canadian Forces’ Leopard 2 main battle tanks to Ukraine as Kyiv continues to defend itself against invading Russian forces.
National Defence Minister Anita Anand made the commitment on Thursday, ending the debate over whether Canada would ship over battle tanks from its military stockpile to Ukraine.
U.S. President Joe Biden said Thursday the U.S. will send 31 M1 Abrams battle tanks to Ukraine, reversing months of persistent arguments by Washington that the tanks were too difficult for Ukrainian troops to operate and maintain.
The U.S. decision follows Germany agreeing to send 14 Leopard 2 A6 tanks from its own stocks. Germany had said the Leopards would not be sent unless the U.S. put its Abrams on the table, not wanting to incur Russia’s wrath without the U.S. similarly committing its own tanks.
“This is the result of intensive consultations, once again, with our allies and international partners,” Chancellor Olaf Scholz told German lawmakers. “It was right and it is important that we didn’t let ourselves be driven (into making the decision).”
Biden said European allies have agreed to send enough tanks to equip two Ukrainian tank battalions, or a total of 62 tanks.
“With spring approaching, Ukrainian forces are working to defend the territory they hold and preparing for additional counter offenses,” Biden said. “To liberate their land, they need to be able to counter Russia’s evolving tactics and strategy on the battlefield in the very near term.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy expressed satisfaction at the news. Several European countries have equipped their armies with Leopard 2 tanks, and Germany’s announcement means they can give some of their stocks to Ukraine.
With files from The Associated Press.
— More to come.
RussiaUkraineUkraine warUkraine newsUkraine RussiaRussia NewsRussia warUkraine updatesleopard tankscanada leopard tankscanada leopards ukraineleopard tanks canadaleopards for ukraineukraine leopard tanks
Journalistic standards Report an error
© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.