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German defense minister: Decision on Leopard tanks for Ukraine to be made 'soon'
German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius told ARD that a decision on supplying Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine will be made "soon" but called for patience in this matter. "The 'Leopard' is a heavy, armored weapon that can also be used for offensive purposes. And you have to think very carefully about when you bring them," said Pistorius.
According to the minister, the decision on Leopard 2 delivery depends on many factors. "Among other things, it is about the security of our own population and the claim that we do not want to become a party in the war," said Pistorius. "At the same time, we will support Ukraine with all our might to win this war."
Pistorius reiterated that there wasn't a consensus on the Leopard tanks' provision between other Ukraine's allies at the Ramstein-8 summit, which took place on Jan. 20 at the U.S. Ramstein air base in Germany.
"There were countries that clearly said they hadn't gotten that far with our decision and hadn't dealt with it in the cabinets. It's a process underway, and Germany wasn't isolated," he said.
Pistorius added that it is in Germany's and Europe's interests to consider the Leopard 2 delivery "carefully and in a balanced manner, not hastily or lightly."
According to the German Defense Minister, his country has already provided Ukraine with military equipment and weaponry worth 3.3 billion euros.
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said on Jan. 22 that Berlin would not oppose Poland's decision to supply German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine.
At the Jan. 20 Ramstein meeting, Ukraine's allies failed to reach an agreement on supplying Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine due to Germany's reluctance to approve tank deliveries. Poland, Finland, and other countries are ready to supply German-made Leopard tanks to Ukraine, but they need approval from the German government.
Since the beginning of Russia's all-out invasion in February 2022, the German government has been criticized for delaying and blocking arms supplies to Ukraine.