German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said on Jan. 25 that Berlin’s promised set of Leopard 2 tanks would take about three months to arrive in Ukraine.
“This is an important game change, possibly also for this war, at least in the current phase,” Pistorius told reporters after a cabinet meeting, as quoted by the Associated Press.
He described the Leopards as “the best battle tank in the world.”
Pistorius’s statement comes shortly after Berlin confirmed that it would supply 14 Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine and allow other countries to deliver Leopards to Kyiv as well.
Previously the German government had been reluctant to approve Leopard 2 deliveries but eventually succumbed under pressure from the media and allies.
Ukraine and its allies, including Poland, thanked Germany for the decision, hoping other countries would follow suit.
Following the announcement of the U-turn decision, the German government said that a program for Ukrainian troops to train on Leopards is set to “begin quickly” in Germany.
The government added in the statement that the goal is to quickly assemble two battalions of Leopards.
Each battalion usually consists of about 40 tanks, meaning that European countries could be preparing to supply approximately 80 tanks to Ukraine.
On Jan. 24, ABC News reported, citing unnamed sources familiar with the matter, that there were 12 countries ready to give about 100 Leopards to Ukraine if Germany greenlights it.
Compared with Soviet tanks, which Ukraine and Russia currently use on the battlefield, the mobility and firepower of Western equipment could help Ukraine launch more counteroffensive operations.