To deliver or not to deliver – that is the German crucial question when it comes to the Leopard 2 tanks.
Chiara SchlenzEditor News
“German weapons, German tanks are essential for survival,” said the Ukrainian ambassador to Germany, Oleksii Makeiev (47), recently. For months, Ukrainian politicians have been demanding that Germany deliver Leopard 2 tanks. So far, however, Germany has stood in the way.
Then Finland and Poland announced the delivery of several German Leopard 2 tanks – and hope rose in Ukraine. The bad news from Germany followed shortly afterwards. “Even if the decision is made tomorrow that we can send our Leopard tanks to Kyiv, the delivery will take until the beginning of next year,” said Rheinmetall CEO Armin Papperger (59) of the “Bild am Sonntag”.
The reason: The tanks would have to be completely dismantled and rebuilt. And that takes time. The devices should not be ready for export to Ukraine until 2024. Accordingly, it is not technically possible to deliver the tanks earlier. A pretext, finds Andreas Umland (55), an expert on politics and Eastern Europe. “It’s more about the political will to deliver it and less about the technical possibilities,” he says to Blick.
Pressure on the chancellor’s office is growing
At the moment everything depends on Germany. Poland, which has nearly 250 Leopard 2 tanks, has already agreed to help Ukraine by making its combat vehicles available.
The problem: Germany has to give permission for this. So far, however, the federal government has stuck to its no – it has no knowledge of delivery requests from partners, according to government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit (50). But the pressure on the chancellor’s office is growing.
Your own safety as an excuse
The tank issue is likely to be one of the main topics on Friday when the 30 NATO countries meet at the US military base in Ramstein in the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate. Specifically, it will be about increasing military aid.
However, the chances that Germany will hand over tanks from its own stock to the Ukraine are slim. It is very likely that this decision will be explained by security concerns.
A similar justification has already been given when the federal government was criticized for the long wait with the Marder armored personnel carriers. According to the military magazine “Soldat und Technik”, among others, Germany justified the lack of a delivery with its own safety. This could also serve as an excuse for the “Leos”.
British send tanks to Ukraine
Umland considers it unlikely that alternatives to the Leopard 2 or Leopard 1 will be found at the Ramstein conference. “For various reasons, the Leopard 2 is probably the most practical option.” Because it is in at least 13 European armies.
This would make it easier to train Ukrainian armed forces for this type of tank, and it would also allow a larger coalition of countries to act as suppliers to be built. It would be of great help to Ukraine in its fight against the Russians. But the Germans continue to hesitate. After all, the British are sticking to their promise. They will send 14 Challenger 2 tanks to Ukraine.