German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has also reportedly decided to send at least 14 Leopard 2 tanks.
Russia’s ambassador to the US blasted the news as “another blatant provocation”.
However, the delivery schedule is still unknown, and it might take months or even years for the US combat vehicles to arrive at the front lines of fighting.
German officials reportedly privately maintained that they would only consent to the supply of Leopard 2 aircraft to Ukraine if the US also delivered M1 Abrams.
Democratic Senator Chris Coons, a supporter of Biden, said Politico on Tuesday that if the Germans continued to insist that they would only deploy or release Leopards if the Americans sent Abrams, they should send Abrams instead.
The British government has already committed to sending Challenger 2 tanks to Ukraine.
This week, Poland stated that it wanted to send Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, but due to their German manufacturing, Berlin must first authorize their export.
According to the International Institute for Strategic Studies, the Leopard 2 tanks are deployed in at least 16 NATO and European nations.
Let’s take a closer look at what the tanks would signify for Ukraine’s defense against Russian forces and its ambitions of evicting them.
DESCRIBE THE LEOPARD 2
Leopard 2 maker Krauss-Maffei Wegmann of Germany refers to it as “the world’s leading battle tank.” “which, for almost 50 years, has blended elements of firepower, protection, speed, and manoeuvrability, making it adaptable to various combat situations.
The 55-ton tank has a crew of four, a maximum speed of around 68 km/h, and a range of approximately 500 km. The original version, which is now available in four major versions, entered service in 1979. The 120mm smooth bore gun that serves as its primary weapon has a fully digital fire-control system.
WHO MIGHT SEND HOW MANY TO UKRAINE?
The sheer quantity of the German-made tanks—more than 2,000 have been deployed in more than a dozen European nations and Canada—is a major selling point. In total, 3,500 units have reportedly been delivered to 19 nations, according to KMW.
The Leopard 2‘s 120mm smoothbore cannon is made by German defense contractor Rheinmetall AG. According to Rheinmetall AG, “more nations than any other” have used the Leopard 2 tank “.
A recent study by the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies found that 350 Leopard 2s of various varieties had been supplied to Greece, while Poland possesses roughly 250 of various sorts. 200 are in use or storage in Finland.
According to the IISS experts, “it is thought that for the Leopard 2 tanks to have any meaningful impact on the battle, roughly 100 tanks would be required” in the conflict between Ukraine and Russia.
The defense minister of Ukraine wants 300 tanks, and some EU officials agree with him.
Luxembourg’s Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn stated on Monday in Brussels that “we need a fleet of 300 tanks,” alluding to the widespread use of Leopards throughout Europe and the demand for “synchronous” weapons that can work in unison.
It’s more difficult to get Leopards into Ukrainian hands than it is to roll them over the border from friends in Western Europe. Operating crews and support workers would require three to six weeks of training to become proficient, according to the IISS.
WOULD it change the course of the war?
Such tanks, according to Yohann Michel, a research analyst for defense and military affairs at IISS, could enable Ukraine to go on the offensive in the 11-month conflict, which has been at a standstill for months following two crucial Ukrainian counteroffensives that recaptured areas in the northeast and south that had been held by Russian forces for months.
Large-scale offensives in this type of conflict simply cannot be executed without the entire complement of armored combat vehicles and equipment, of which tanks are a component “By phone, he spoke.
Infantry combat vehicles and armored personnel carriers are additional Main Battle Tanks, or MBTs, such as the Leopard II.
Deliveries of Leopard 2s from the West might enable Ukraine acquire the high-calibre munitions it needs to replace its decreasing inventories of weapons from the Soviet era, creating a fresh route for supplies of Western firepower to reach Ukraine.
By phone, Michel stated, “That, in my opinion, is the main influence.” “Of course, the second effect is to raise the number of tanks in the Ukrainian arsenal, “which he estimated to be “a few hundred” at the moment.
WHY DON’T LEOPARDS EXIST IN UKRAINE YET?
Germany has the last decision on whether Leopard 2s can be shipped, even from the arsenals of other nations, and has been wary of anyone sending them to Ukraine.
stronger hawk Germany, which has called for a unified front among Ukraine’s allies, has come under increased pressure from the West, while the United States has previously declined to provide its potent M1 Abrams tanks.
According to US authorities, the Abrams was a bad option for this stage of the war since it was difficult to maintain, difficult for Ukrainians to operate, and relied on jet fuel.
However, Washington now seems prepared to begin a procedure that will eventually transfer dozens of M1 Abrams combat tanks to Ukraine, in what seems to be a U-turn.
The Leopard 2 is said to be easier to operate than the large US tanks and has shorter training times because it is jet-powered, unlike the M1 Abrams, which is powered by diesel.
The Czech Republic and Poland have given Ukrainian military T-72 tanks from the Soviet era, and last month, Britain declared it will supply Challenger 2 tanks to the country.
The notion of deploying some of France’s Leclerc combat tanks to Ukraine has been given to the defense minister to “work on,” according to French President Emmanuel Macron, who made the announcement on Sunday.