Russia and Ukraine: what is the reason for the German reluctance to supply Kyiv with Leopard tanks?

Russia and Ukraine: what is the reason for the German reluctance to supply Kyiv with Leopard tanks?

Reports have indicated that Germany will not send tanks to Ukraine unless the United States does the same.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz is under increasing international and domestic pressure to supply Kyiv with German-made "Leopard 2" tanks or at least agree to their delivery by third countries.

Both Poland and Finland promised to send Leopard tanks to Kyiv, but they needed permission from Germany to do this.

But Berlin is still holding talks with the United States before determining its official position.

Many expect an announcement after the meeting of Ukraine's Western allies at the US Military Base Ramstein in southwestern Germany tomorrow.

Reports indicate that Schultz will give the green light for the dispatch of Tanks only if the US President, Joe Biden, agrees to provide the Ukrainian side with American Abrams tanks.

The Pentagon's top security adviser, Colin Kahl, said late on Thursday that the United States was not ready to meet Kyiv's demands for tanks.

"The Abrams tank is a very complex mechanical creation. The price tag is rather high. They're not ideal for rehearsal. It is powered by a jet engine ".

A senior German government source told the BBC that reports of a stalemate between Berlin and Washington over the tanks were exaggerated, but were causing concern among Ukraine's Western allies.

The provision of Western tanks, in sufficient numbers, is widely seen as a decisive factor if Ukraine wants to defeat Russia or, at least, defend itself against an offensive that Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to launch in the spring.

So far, Britain is the only country that has promised to supply Ukraine with tanks. Other countries, including Germany, France, and the United States, have sent or pledged to send armored vehicles, air defense systems, and other heavy equipment.

Leopard 2: Why is Ukraine pressing to get this German tank?

Why Schultz hesitates?

All indications are that Schulz will not allow third parties to supply Ukraine with Leopard tanks, German Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck said a week ago.

But Schultz has not yet committed to the order, and his caution is due to several reasons, including concern about escalation, and the reaction of Russian President Vladimir Putin to the export of weapons, which many experts consider unjustified.

The prospect of German tanks on Ukrainian territory still resonates uncomfortably in Berlin, as the history of the Second World War still casts a shadow over the country.

Schulz monitors local opinion polls, which indicate to the public in general his reaction to Ukraine, in contrast to his policies and performance in many other areas.

A recent opinion poll for National Radio found that 41 percent of the public believes that Germany is supplying Ukraine with the right amount of weapons, 26 percent believe that its support is too much, while 25 Germans believe that the country has not sent enough.

Schulz promised that Germany would play a greater military role on the world stage, but years of underinvestment have left its armed forces in a precarious state.

And even if the Chancellor gives the green light to send the tanks, the arms manufacturer Rheinmetall warned that the requirements for renewal and preparation will delay their delivery for months.

Schultz did not want to risk the idea that he was acting alone, and so his desire came in coordination with allies, in particular the United States. So, it's quite doubtful that we'll hear anything before tomorrow's Rammstein meeting.

But his stance has provoked frustration and condemnation in international political and security circles.

The international security community says Germany must live up to its military responsibilities.

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