The pressure on Germany's yes to the supply of tanks has been immense for months. Now it has happened, but the commitments of other states are pending. So far, 14 tanks from Germany and 3 from Portugal have been confirmed, other countries are checking. In addition, the ammunition for the Cheetah infantry fighting vehicle will not last much longer.
For the time being, Germany cannot fulfill its battle tank promise to Ukraine to the extent announced. After talks on the sidelines of the NATO defense ministers' meeting in Brussels, German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said that "half a battalion" of Leopard 2 tanks had come together. These included the 14 tanks of the newer type A6 promised by the federal government and three more from Portugal. Sweden is still checking whether they could provide tanks and to what extent.
At the end of January, Germany had set itself the goal of making an entire battalion with 30 to 31 main battle tanks available to Ukraine. Poland plans to deliver another battalion of older-type Leopard 2 tanks.
On the fringes of the NATO Council in Brussels, Germany, Poland and Ukraine had invited to what Pistorius called a "tank lunch". The Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Resnikov was "satisfied" afterwards, reported Pistorius. Resnikov had personally traveled to Brussels.
Pistorius spoke of an "intermediate step" and referred to further talks, also on the fringes of the Munich Security Conference starting Friday. In Brussels, the defense minister wanted to meet the Dutch head of department, Kajsa Ollongren.
Originally there had been speculation about a delivery of 14 more Leopard 2 tanks of newer models from the Netherlands. However, these are needed for the German-Dutch brigade, as Pistorius has now announced. Passing them on to Ukraine would mean a "further weakening of the Bundeswehr's operational readiness," he said.
He is not aware of an official request from The Hague to pass it on to Kiev. Since the Leopard 2 tanks come from German production, Berlin would have to officially agree to a levy.
With regard to the Gepard anti-aircraft tank, according to Pistorius, Ukraine still has so much ammunition that it should last until the summer. But you have to look at all the depots to see what else can be delivered to Ukraine, he says. At the same time, you have to talk to the armaments industry so that they can increase their production. Pistorius announced on Tuesday that a contract for production in Germany had been signed with Rheinmetall.