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Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov told Ukrainian media Liga on Jan. 20 that the Ramstein-8 summit led to an ” optimistic breakthrough” over Leopard tanks delivery.
Reznikov said countries that have Leopard-2 tanks in service agreed to start training courses for Ukrainian tank crews on the tanks.
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 was the eighth Ramstein summit since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24.
The international meeting comes amid Kyiv’s frustration with the long-standing dissent over tanks for Ukraine as the full-scale invasion reaches the 11-month mark.
Fighting off pressure from allies, Berlin made no decision to provide the long-anticipated Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine.
“I’m very sure there will be a decision in the short term, but I don’t know how the decision will look,” German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius told reporters at the U.S. Ramstein Air Base in southwestern Germany.
Pistorius said that Berlin could move “straight away” if it decides to supply Leopards to Ukraine, as he has already asked his ministry to look into Germany’s Leopard tank stocks.
President Volodymyr Zelensky made direct pleas for tanks at the meeting, saying that “hundreds of thank you are not hundreds of tanks.”
Western tanks, particularly the powerful German-made Leopards, would give Ukraine a major equipment advantage over Russia, which relies on old Soviet stock.
After France and the U.K. vowed to supply tanks to Ukraine, the pressure had been mounting for Germany to either provide Leopards, or clear ways for its buyers, such as Poland, to complete their promised transfer of the tanks.