German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said his country would continue to provide military aid to Ukraine, but made no mention of heavy tanks in a speech at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland.
Several European allies are ready to send numbers of German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, but they need the green light from Berlin first.
Chancellor Scholz is under increasing pressure from partners to give the green light.
Russia’s war of aggression must fail. That is why we continuously supply Ukraine with large quantities of weapons, in close consultation with our partners
The leaders of Finland, Lithuania, Poland and Britain on Tuesday asked the German chancellor to quickly authorize the delivery of the tanks, but Scholz would not be drawn at the World Economic Forum.
“Russia’s war of aggression must fail,” Scholz told the forum. “This is why we continuously supply Ukraine with large quantities of weapons, in close consultation with our partners. This includes air defense systems, such as IRIS-T or Patriot, artillery and armored infantry fighting vehicles, which mark a profound turning point in German foreign policy and security policy”.
The Leopard 2 and other modern Western tanks are considered essential to the success of any future Ukrainian counter-offensive against Russian forces. Britain has already said it will send 14 Challenger tanks.
Germany has agreed to make 40 Marder combat vehicles available to Kyiv but so far, like other Western powers, has drawn a limit on sending tanks, deeming the move too escalating.
Scholz is expected to make a final announcement on the matter Friday at an Allied meeting in Germany.