War in Ukraine: reports: Scholz under conditions for Leopard deliveries

war in Ukraine
Reports: Scholz on conditions for Leopard deliveries

"We will continue to be such a big supporter": Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Davos.  Photo: Markus Schreiber/AP/dpa

“We will continue to be such a big supporter”: Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Davos. photo

© Markus Schreiber/AP/dpa

Pressure on the federal government to supply Leopard main battle tanks to Ukraine has continued to mount. In the evening, the media report: Olaf Scholz is ready – under certain conditions.

After months of back and forth is Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) is now ready, according to media reports, to allow the delivery of Leopard main battle tanks to Ukraine – but only under certain conditions.

According to information from the “Süddeutsche Zeitung”, Scholz made it clear in a telephone call to US President Joe Biden that Germany could only deliver if the US, for its part, Ukraine provide their own Abrams main battle tanks. Biden had apparently not yet made a decision in the conversation on Tuesday.

Scholz apparently sets conditions

The “Bild” newspaper, citing government circles, also reported that Scholz wanted to allow both German Leopard deliveries and NATO partners – albeit the USA provided Abrams tanks. As a result, the Chancellor is concerned that Europe and the USA only give battle tanks to Kyiv together so that Russian President Vladimir Putin cannot split NATO. This Friday, the West will discuss further deliveries at a meeting at the US base in Ramstein. The Russian war of aggression against Ukraine has lasted almost eleven months.

The Chancellery did not want to comment on the reports in the evening. In the debate about arms deliveries since the beginning of the war almost a year ago, Scholz has always emphasized that Germany do not go it alone, but always coordinate important steps closely with our partners – especially with the USA and France. In the past few days, the pressure on Scholz to make a decision to clear the way for “Leos” deliveries had increased significantly.

Ramstein: “More heavier weapons” for Ukraine?

This Friday, Ukraine’s western allies are discussing further arms deliveries in Ramstein, Rhineland-Palatinate. The new Defense Minister Boris Pistorius (SPD) will take part for Germany. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg expects a signal that there are “more heavier weapons and more modern weapons” for Ukraine.

20 countries worldwide have the modern Leopard 2 tanks, which are produced in Germany. The federal government must therefore approve any transfer – no matter from which country. This is usually stipulated in the purchase contract. That means: Scholz is at the lever for the delivery. The Leopard 2 is considered one of the best main battle tanks in the world. The Ukrainians want to use him to break through opposing lines in what has recently been a rather static trench warfare.

European Parliament puts pressure on Scholz

On Wednesday morning, the European Parliament called on Scholz to clear the way for the delivery of Leopard main battle tanks. The chancellor should “without further delay” set up a consortium of countries that can provide such tanks, according to a motion that was approved in Strasbourg with a large majority.

In a speech in Davos that afternoon, however, the chancellor did not indicate any trend. Scholz again pointed out that Germany, together with Great Britain and the USA, is already one of the largest arms suppliers to Ukraine. “We will continue to be such a big supporter.” Germany will deliver as long as necessary. Scholz confirmed that he would only decide on new steps together with the allies. We want to continue to avoid a war between NATO and Russia.

Poland and Finland have already agreed to make Leopard 2 available to the European network. Great Britain has announced that it will supply other types of main battle tanks to Ukraine. However, their Challenger 2 are comparable to the Leopard 2.


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