German Chancellor Olaf Scholz will allow the export of German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine if the US sends its own tanks, Reuters reported Wednesday, citing a German government source.
Poland and Finland have both said they’re ready to send some of their Leopard tanks to Ukraine, but the export needs Berlin’s approval. Germany’s vice chancellor recently said Berlin wouldn’t get in the way of the deliveries, but Scholz appears to still be against the idea.
The US recently pledged to send Ukraine Bradley Fighting Vehicles and is expected to announce a package of Stryker Fighting Vehicles this weekend, but it has no plans to send the M1 Abrams, its main battle tank, or any other heavy tanks.
“I just don’t think we’re there yet,” Colin Kahl, the US undersecretary of defense for policy, said on Wednesday. “The Abrams tank is a very complicated piece of equipment. It’s expensive. It’s hard to train on. It has a jet engine.”
The US has said it supports other countries’ plans to send heavy battle tanks to Kyiv and might work to convince Berlin to sign off on the Leopard 2 deliveries. Scholz has previously said he’s against sending tanks to Ukraine because he’s trying to avoid a direct clash between NATO and Russia, and providing Leopards would mark a significant escalation of Western military aid.