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Scholz on Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine: ‘We must avoid Russia-NATO war’

by The Kyiv Independent news desk January 18, 2023 7:01 PM 1 min read
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When asked about Berlin’s reluctance to provide Ukraine with German-built Leopard 2 tanks at the World Economic Forum in Davos, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz responded by saying Germany has been “among the biggest supporters of Ukraine” amid Russia’s war.

“We want to avoid this becoming a war between Russia and NATO,” he told the Guardian. He added that Germany will continue to provide support to Ukraine for as long as necessary.

Earlier in the day, the European Parliament urged Germany to transfer long-pledged Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine “without further delay.”

The members of the European Parliament “stress that Ukraine is defending its territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders and urgently needs military aid and heavy weaponry to win the war.”

Also, on Jan. 18, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said that allies need to step up support to Ukraine.

“If we want peace … then we need to provide military support to Ukraine,” the NATO chief said. He said that NATO and Germany “are in constant dialogue” on the tank delivery.

He added that Germany has already provided aid to Kyiv but admitted the need for NATO members to provide “more sophisticated weaponry.”

On Jan. 11, Polish President Andrzej Duda said that Poland planned to supply a company of modern German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine. But since these tanks are produced in Germany, sending them to Ukraine requires approval from the German government.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Jan. 16 that “there is no reason to block support for Kyiv and delay it indefinitely,” urging the German government to provide Ukraine with “all types of weapons.”

Bloomberg reported on Jan. 13, citing two unnamed officials familiar with the matter, that Germany will likely decide on whether to supply Leopard tanks to Ukraine ahead of the Rammstein summit, which is scheduled for Jan. 20.

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