A country that operates German-made Leopard tanks has asked Berlin for permission to donate the heavy armor to Ukraine, Britain’s defense secretary has revealed.
Ben Wallace didn’t say which nation he was referring to, but it’s likely Poland, which has made it clear it wants to send some of its Leopard 2 main battle tanks to support Ukrainian forces in their fight against Russia.
Pressure is mounting on Olaf Scholz’s government to allow the Leopard, one of the world’s deadliest and most modern tanks, to be part of a new and increasingly powerful wave of military aid for Kyiv before what many believe is a further escalation of the war.
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Germany holds the export license so any country wishing to supply Ukraine with its own tank fleet must obtain permission from Berlin.
“I understand that a formal request from a country was sent today – I don’t know any more details of who or what – and that’s obviously the process that needs to be followed,” Mr Wallace said. to Sky News after holding talks with 10 other allies at a military base in Estonia.
When asked if he thought Germany should say yes, Mr Wallace replied: “I want as many tanks to support the Ukrainian effort for 2023.
“There is no secret about it… If we want to send the message to the Kremlin that we are not giving up, that we are doubling down, tanks are part of it.”
The Lithuanian Defense Minister, who was also present at the rally, went further, telling Reuters news agency that several countries would announce their intention to send Leopard tanks to Ukraine at a large meeting on a base. US airline in Germany on Friday.
“Some countries will definitely send Leopard tanks to Ukraine, that’s for sure,” Arvydas Anusauskas said of the pledges.
The UK became the first country this week to say it is sending Western tanks to Ukraine in a historic moment and a significant increase in support.
Scholz Can’t Decide
Britain only sends 14 of its Challenger 2 tanks – enough to equip a squadron but not enough to have a significant impact on the direction of the war on its own.
The hope was to encourage Germany to follow suit, but Mr Scholz has yet to confirm his willingness to do so.
A senior European source told Sky News that the German armed forces understood the importance of tanks in Ukraine’s fight, signaling that the hurdle appeared to be political.
“The German army understands that you cannot say that Ukraine must win but not send tanks (…) But Scholz cannot decide,” the source said.
Mr Wallace said he agreed that the toughest battle in Ukraine is yet to come.
“While last year was all about defense and attrition of the Russian military, this year is about demonstrating that Ukraine can push Russia back significantly and even further than it does. already was,” he said.
The Defense Secretary spoke to British soldiers deployed at the Tapa military base in Estonia with a Challenger 2 tank detachment as part of a NATO mission to deter Russian aggression against the military alliance.
In service since 1994, the Challenger 2 tank weighs 62.5 tons and is armed with a 120 mm rifled gun and a 7.62 mm chain gun.
The Challenger 2 has already been deployed in Bosnia and during the 2003 Iraq War.
This article is originally published on news-24.fr