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German Defense Minister: No decision yet on Leopard tanks for Ukraine

by The Kyiv Independent news deskJanuary 20, 2023 4:43 pm

German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said on Jan. 20 that an agreement on providing Ukraine with Leopard tanks had not been reached yet. 

"I'm very sure there will be a decision in the short term, but I don't know how the decision will look," Pistorius told reporters after the Ramstein-8 meeting held in Germany, according to Bloomberg.

He added that the German government is weighing various options on supplying modern Leopard tanks to Ukraine, and if the agreement is finally reached, Germany "could move quickly."

According to AFP, Pistorius also said that Berlin was not alone in blocking the delivery of Leopard tanks, which Ukraine has long requested. 

On Jan. 20, defense ministers from some 50 countries met at the U.S. Ramstein Air Base in Germany to discuss further support for Ukraine. This is the eighth Ramstein summit since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24. 

Berlin earlier promised to announce its final decision on the tanks' supply at the Ramstein-8 summit amid rising tensions over the matter. 

Chancellor Olaf Scholz said during the World Economic Forum's annual meeting in Davos on Jan. 19. that Germany would only provide Leopards to Ukraine if the U.S. sends native M1 Abrams tanks first.

Responding to Scholz's comments, Pentagon Deputy Press Secretary Sabrina Singh said that "it doesn't make sense" for the U.S. to send Abrams tanks "at the moment."

Pistorius, however, later denied that Germany's decision on Leopard tanks for Ukraine was linked with the U.S. agreement to provide Abrams, German public broadcaster ARD reported.

The Kyiv Independent news desk
The Kyiv Independent news desk

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