Germany faces growing pressure to send Leopard tanks to Ukraine: NPR

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Two Leopard 2 A6 heavy tanks and a Puma infantry fighting vehicle from the Bundeswehr’s 9th training brigade are participating in a demonstration of capabilities during a visit by then-Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht to Bundeswehr training grounds in February 2022. Münster, Germany.

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Sean Gallup/Getty Images


Two Leopard 2 A6 heavy tanks and a Puma infantry fighting vehicle from the Bundeswehr’s 9th training brigade are participating in a demonstration of capabilities during a visit by then-Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht to Bundeswehr training grounds in February 2022. Münster, Germany.

Sean Gallup/Getty Images

BERLIN – Western defense officials continued to pressure Germany on Friday to allow the export of its sophisticated Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine. Ukraine’s allies and their military aides are meeting at Ramstein Air Base in Germany to coordinate the final phase of arms deliveries.

But until now, Germany has not agreed to produce its own heavy tanks and prevented others from producing Leopard tanks, which they already bought from Germany.

At the opening of the meeting, officials emphasized urgency, avoiding direct confrontation with Germany.

“This is an important moment,” said US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. “Russia is trying to regroup, recruit and re-equip. Now is not the time to slow down. Now is the time to dig deeper.”

Last week, Polish President Andrzej Duda announced that he will move to his country Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine and Finnish President Sauli Niinistö also expressed his country’s readiness to deliver tanks to Kyiv.

German arms companies manufacture the Leopard 2, and while other countries may offer to export them, the German government legally has the final say on how and where the tanks are used.

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