When it can be agreed and what it will be, the minister refused to predict, noting that there are arguments both for and against the supply of tanks to Ukraine. At the same time, he ordered to check the presence and condition of the existing “leopards” in order to “act quickly” if the Western coalition makes such a decision. Vice Foreign Minister Robert Habek said that due to Germany’s storied past, it would be easier for it to take such a step if the United States decides to transfer its M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine.
But so far the United States has refused, citing the fact that its tanks are unfit for the Ukrainian Armed Forces due to high fuel consumption, maintenance, repair and training difficulties. According to the Politico newspaper, several EU countries, led by Poland, want to join forces to pressure Germany for permission to supply German tanks. Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic have already expressed their readiness to transfer their “leopards” as soon as Germany allows.
Help on the slopes
Although there was no decision on the “leopards”, at the 8th meeting of the Contact Group for the Defense of Ukraine and in the process of preparation for it, Western countries agreed on new large-scale arms supplies for the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Ukraine, including large batches of armored vehicles:
USA: 59 M2 Bradley IFVs and munitions, 90 Stryker APCs, 53 MRAP Mine Resistant APCs, 350 HMMWV APCs, 8 Avenger Air Defense Systems, 20,000 155mm rounds, 600 High Precision rounds 155mm, 95,000 105mm shells, missiles for M142 HIMARS MLRS and NASAMS air defense systems, cartridges for small arms.
United Kingdom: 14 Challenger 2 tanks, 30 AS-90 self-propelled guns, Starstreak air defense systems, ammunition.
Germany: 1 MIM-104 Patriot SAM battery, 40 Marder infantry fighting vehicles.
Denmark: 19 CAESAR self-propelled guns.
Canada: 200 Senator police armored vehicles.
Netherlands: 1 MIM-104 Patriot SAM battery
Poland – T-72 tanks and infantry fighting vehicles to arm a brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, S-60 anti-aircraft artillery systems, 70 thousand ammunition.
Finland: military aid worth 400 million euros, its composition was not disclosed.
France: AMX-10 RC wheeled tanks.
Sweden: 12 Archer self-propelled guns, 90 armored vehicles, anti-tank missile systems.
In addition, since the stocks of Soviet-style weapons in the European Union are about to run out, the meeting discussed ways to urgently increase the production of Western military equipment for Ukraine’s needs.
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who chaired the meeting, said Western countries are ready to support Ukraine “for as long as it takes.” He urged his colleagues to “remain determined and step up efforts.” According to the head of the Pentagon, “this is a decisive moment” in the conflict.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg welcomed the new military assistance packages and also called for “urgently strengthening support” for the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed the meeting participants via video link and called for the delivery of tanks, artillery and air defense equipment to his army to be expedited.
In addition to tanks, Ukraine hopes in the future to obtain from the United States and its allies the supply of weapons that they do not want to transfer yet for various reasons: these are long-range ATACMS missiles (up to 300 km) for the M142 HIMARS MLRS, F fighters -16 and heavy attack drones.
Zelensky expressed his hope that such decisions would be made at future meetings in the Rammstein format. Since Kyiv’s allies have more than once agreed to transfer to it those weapons that they initially retained, it cannot be ruled out that the ban on these positions will be reviewed in the future. The head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, called this week to give Ukraine the weapons it needs. On Friday, the media reported that the Dutch authorities are already considering sending F-16 fighter jets to the Ukrainian Armed Forces.