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German Defense Minister: Ukraine Will Get Leopard 2 Tanks in 3-4 Months at the Earliest

© AFP 2023 / ATTILA KISBENEDEKA stuffed toy leopard is placed on a Leopard 2/A4 battle tank during a handover ceremony of tanks at the army base of Tata, Hungary, on July 24, 2020
A stuffed toy leopard is placed on a Leopard 2/A4 battle tank during a handover ceremony of tanks at the army base of Tata, Hungary, on July 24, 2020 - Sputnik International, 1920, 25.01.2023
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On Tuesday, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz reportedly pledged that Berlin would deliver a company of the country’s Leopard 2 main battle tanks to Ukraine.
German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius has announced that the Leopard 2 tanks will be delivered to Ukraine no earlier than in 3-4 months. This came after government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit told reporters on Wednesday that Berlin had decided to send 14 Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine.
"On Wednesday, Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced in the cabinet that Germany would further increase its military support for Ukraine. He said that the federal government had decided to provide the Ukrainian armed forces with Leopard 2 main battle tanks," Hebestreit pointed out.
German army tanks are lined up after the NATO Noble Jump exercise on a training range near Swietoszow Zagan, Poland, Thursday, June 18, 2015 - Sputnik International, 1920, 25.12.2022
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The decision was made following intensive negotiations held with Germany's closest European and international partners, the official added.
"The goal is to quickly raise two tank battalions with Leopard 2 tanks for Ukraine. At the first stage, Germany will provide a company of 14 Leopard 2 A6 tanks from the stocks of the Bundeswehr," the spokesman said.
Germany's European partners, in turn, will also hand over Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, the official said.
Additionally, Germany's new aid package will include ammunition, system maintenance, and assistance in logistics, according to the spokesman.
The Russian Embassy in Germany reacted by warning that “this extremely dangerous decision shifts the Ukrainian conflict to a new level of standoff.”
“Berlin’s choice to supply tanks to Kiev means the final rejection of Germany’s historical responsibility to the Russian people,” the embassy stressed.
The Russian diplomats added that Germany and its close allies are not interested in a diplomatic resolution of the Ukrainian crisis and that they want to escalate tensions.
The developments come after German media cited unnamed sources as saying that Scholz had decided to deliver a company of the country’s Leopard 2 main battle tanks to Ukraine following “months of debate.”
A stuffed toy leopard is placed on a Leopard 2/A4 battle tank during a handover ceremony of tanks at the army base of Tata, Hungary, on July 24, 2020. Hungary is one of over a dozen countries operating the German-made tank. - Sputnik International, 1920, 23.01.2023
Sputnik Explains
What is the Leopard 2 Tank and Why is Its Possible Delivery to Kiev So Explosively Contentious?
Washington and its allies increased their military support for Kiev after Russia began its special military operation in Ukraine on February 24, 2022, after a request for help from the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk.
Moscow has condemned the US and its allies’ military assistance to Kiev, which the Kremlin says adds to prolonging the Ukrainian conflict. Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov warned last year that any arms shipments on Ukrainian territory would become "legitimate targets" for Russian forces.
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