Two weeks ago, after much hesitation, Germany agreed to supply Ukraine with Leopard 2 tanks. Last but not least, the decision was preceded by pressure from European partners. Now that the federal government is waiting for confirmation, the neighboring countries remain silent.
Doubts are growing in the German government as to whether the announced delivery of Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine can be implemented as planned. As the "Spiegel" reported, there have been no firm commitments from the European partners, who had previously publicly requested the delivery of modern battle tanks to Ukraine, to participate in the planned formation of two tank battalions for Ukraine. The problems have been confirmed in government circles. "Putting together the battalions turns out to be a tedious feat," reported the magazine after a corresponding request.
About two weeks ago, Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced that Germany, together with other EU countries, would like to deliver two tank battalions equipped with Leopard 2 weapon systems to Ukraine by the end of March. While such formations are equipped with 44 main battle tanks in NATO, 31 tanks are a guide value in the Ukrainian military. Germany is providing the Bundeswehr with 14 Leopard 2A6 tanks for the weapons package. Germany wants to keep a further five tanks as a reserve in order to be able to use them in the event of breakdowns or any necessary repairs to the other tanks.
According to the "Spiegel" report, the Ministry of Defense immediately began to talk to EU nations such as Poland after Scholz's tank decision. Warsaw had previously publicly agreed to deliver Leopard 2 tanks, putting considerable pressure on Berlin. The magazine also reported that at a video conference hosted by Defense Minister Boris Pistorius last week, no EU country wanted to make any concrete commitments about participating in the tank package. Even the Dutch government, which, like Poland, had already promised to supply Leopard 2 tanks in the media, did not want to commit itself.
Because of the lack of commitments since the beginning of the week, the federal government spontaneously launched a diplomatic initiative to get the partners to make quick decisions, the "Spiegel" reported further. Even Chancellor Olaf Scholz himself intervened and persuaded three heads of government from northern and southern Europe to make binding commitments. Defense Minister Boris Pistorius was on the phone with several of his European counterparts at the same time. The Federal Foreign Office is also taking part in the negotiations on arms aid.