Ukraine and many of Berlin’s Nato partners have been pleading for a decision on whether Germany would permit them to send German-made Leopard 2 tanks to help Kyiv as the battlefield begins to thaw.
Der Spiegel reported on Tuesday evening that chancellor Olaf Scholz had finally decided to allow allies such as Poland to do so – and that Berlin would also send tanks of its own.
Berlin has so far declined to comment, however, and one United States official told the Associated Press that Germany’s announcement could be made in conjunction with Washington – with Joe Biden’s administration reportedly poised to approve sending M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine.
Such a move would mark a major reversal in policy for both nations – and a significant victory for Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky as he seeks to bolster his countries defences against Russia’s invading army.
However, it could take months for tanks to reach Ukraine even if such a move is agreed.
While the discussion currently centres on at least one company of Leopard 2 A6 tanks already in Bundeswehr stocks, in the longer-term more tanks could be restored to be fit for use, Spiegel reported.
Officials in Washington suggested that details are still being worked out, with one reported as saying that Abrams tanks could be bought under its upcoming $850m Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative package – which also includes a Patriot missile defence system.