Leopard and Abrams – who will deliver?

DGermany is not the only country that is now ready to Ukraine to provide heavy tanks to defend against Russian attack. Ukraine has been demanding them for a long time. But which devices and in what quantities are currently being discussed? FAZ.NET gives an initial overview.


After much hesitation, the traffic light coalition in Berlin gave up its opposition to delivery of the Leopard 2 tank. As the magazine “Der Spiegel” reports, Berlin wants at least one company, i.e. 14 tanks, of the Leopard 2A6 version from stocks of the armed forces bring to Ukraine.

In addition, the German government will allow other NATO countries such as Poland to export German-made tanks to Ukraine. The Leopard 2 has been built in Germany since the late 1970s. According to the manufacturer, it rolled off the assembly line more than 3,500 times. There are a multitude of variants.

Poland and Finland

The government in Warsaw officially submitted an application for the export license for 14 Leopard tanks to Ukraine on Tuesday in Berlin. Finland also intends to provide Kyiv with its own Leopard tanks. How many devices are involved was still unclear on Wednesday morning.


prime minister Mark Rutte was open on Tuesday to sending 18 Leopard 2 tanks leased from Germany to Ukraine. “We leased them, which means we can buy them, which means we can donate them,” he told the FAZ and other media in Brussels.

United States and Great Britain

According to media reports, America now wants to send M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine after a long hesitation – the commitment was important for Berlin, which did not want to act in isolation internationally. As the newspaper “New York Times” reports, the shipment of 30 to 50 copies is under discussion. The latest version of the Abrams, produced by the armaments company General Dynamics, is considered one of the most modern tanks in the world. The 1,500 hp turbine engine propels the tank to a top speed of 68 kilometers per hour, and the main weapon is a 120-millimeter cannon. However, the tank is very heavy, weighing almost 67 tons, and consumes large amounts of fuel.

Over the decades, the United States has sold the Abrams to Australia, Egypt, Iraq, Morocco, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Last year, Poland ordered 250 Abrams tanks, and just a few weeks ago the government in Warsaw sealed another order for 116 of the older-type tanks, which can be delivered more quickly. Britain has pledged delivery of 14 Challenger tanks. In his own words, French President Emmanuel Macron does not rule out the delivery of French Leclerc main battle tanks to Ukraine. However, no decision has been made yet.

Cancellation from Prague

The Czech Republic announced on Tuesday that it would not give up the Leopard 2 main battle tanks in favor of Ukraine, which Germany had promised in the course of a ring exchange. “It is now not possible to send the Leopards on because we need these tanks for our security,” said Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala after a meeting with Scholz in Berlin.

The Czech Republic made dozens of Soviet-designed T-72 main battle tanks available to Ukraine last year. The federal government promised the government in Prague 14 Leopard 2 tanks and one armored recovery vehicle as part of the so-called ring exchange. The first Leopard was delivered last December.

That’s what Ukraine says

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy reacted cautiously on Tuesday to reports that German-made main battle tanks had been promised. “Many efforts, words, promises,” he said in a video address in the evening. It is more important to see the reality. “It’s not about five or ten or fifteen tanks. The need is greater.” Ukraine tries every day to compensate for the lack of heavy battle tanks. “And I would like to thank each and every one of you who is supporting us.” The discussions about the supply of tanks must now lead to decisions, Zelenskyj demanded.

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