Speed Reads

tanks incoming

Germany confirms plan to arm Ukraine with Leopard tanks

Germany will provide Ukraine with an initial shipment of 14 Leopard 2 tanks to assist the besieged country in its war against Russia, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced Wednesday. 

The decision follows a similar move out of the United Kingdom, where officials recently agreed to provide Ukrainians with 14 Challenger 2 tanks, and precedes an announcement from the U.S., which is soon expected to share its plan to send M1 Abrams tanks to Kyiv. President Biden is scheduled to deliver remarks at the White House on Wednesday afternoon.

"This decision follows our well-known line of supporting Ukraine to the best of our ability. We are acting in a closely coordinated manner internationally," Scholz said in a statement.

The pledge from Berlin, which arrived after weeks of "domestic and international pressure," writes The New York Times, immediately prompted interest from Finland, the Netherlands, and Spain, who said they would now consider sending Leopards of their own. It also followed a Tuesday request from the Polish government, which asked Germany to approve its plans to send tanks to the battlefield in Kyiv (as the manufacturer of the Leopard 2, Germany must permit their use in a non-NATO country.)

Per The Associated Press, Scholz had agreed to provide Kyiv with tanks so long as Germany's allies — most importantly the U.S. — agreed to, as well (lest Berlin field Russian anger alone). American officials eventually relented.

All in all, the decision is a "major boost for Ukraine," which has begged the West for such weapons for months, Axios reports. The Kremlin, for its part, has called the shipment a "rather disastrous plan."