- by theguardian
- 06 Feb 2023
Berlin has reportedly succumbed to huge international and domestic pressure and is set to announce that it will send German-manufactured tanks to Ukraine that Kyiv says it needs to push back Russian forces, according to media reports on Tuesday evening citing government sources.
The 2A6 version of the Leopard is the latest version of the tank, which was first developed for the West German army in 1979.
The decision marks a groundbreaking one for Germany, ending months of painful debate and soul-searching, with the move marking the first time that German tanks will have been used on the battlefield in Europe since the second world war.
Kyiv, which has been appealing for the tanks since last April, has given repeated reassurances to Berlin in particular that the tanks would only be used for defence purposes.
Earlier in the day, the Wall Street Journal reported that the US government was considering sending a considerable number of its Abrams tanks. France is also believed to be on the verge of announcing it will send its own tanks to Ukraine.
Some leading US military experts supported the idea even as they acknowledged that the gesture would be largely symbolic and would help enable Germany to make the difficult decision amid widespread concerns, in light of its war-mongering past, that the move could escalate the conflict with Berlin portrayed as the aggressor.
Scholz has been under immense pressure both at home, from within his own coalition government made up of his Social Democrats, Greens and the pro-business FDP, and internationally to make an announcement regarding the tanks.
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