There is little chance that German Chancellor Olaf Scholz will soon approve the supply of modern German Leopard 2 tanks or at least outdated Leopard 1 tanks to the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
The publication recalled that last weekend Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal visited Berlin, who “absolutely constructively” talked with Scholz about tanks and after the visit was supposedly optimistic in this regard.
“But, as Welt learned from Ukrainian government circles, the chances of a breakthrough are small. The chancellor did not make any commitments regarding the requested delivery of the Leopard 2. The conversation with Scholz about this was “general and vague”, and [у канцлера] there was “no desire at all” to change the position regarding tanks,” the newspaper writes.
She was confirmed in Kyiv government circles that Scholz was offered to have Leopard 2 supplied directly by German industry.
Welt recalled that the Krauss-Maffei Wegmann company offered this as early as April 8. KMW is ready to supply Ukraine with 100 Leopard 2A7 tanks, including spare parts and training modules, for a total of 1.55 billion euros. The first copies will be ready 36 months after the signing of the contract. The last tank should be delivered within 65 months. So far, the company has not submitted an export application to the government.
Welt writes that Scholz “for a long time refused to supply heavy weapons at all”, although in the first days after the start of the total war, German gunsmiths made it clear to the government that they were ready to supply tanks to the Armed Forces from their warehouses.
But Berlin did not respond to the proposals, the article writes, and only after Ukraine itself received these proposals, Scholz had to justify himself – saying, “Germany should not supply heavy weapons on its own”, “this would endanger the security of NATO”, ” Ukrainians still don’t know how to handle such weapons,” and so on.
Back in April, Ukraine received offers from Rheinmetall for the supply of 100 Marder BMPs and 88 Leopard 1 tanks, including training and ammunition, for a total of 268 million euros. The manufacturer claimed that everything will be “quickly available”. Applications for export were immediately submitted, “but the chancellor did not react in any way for the last five months,” the publication writes.
Instead, Scholz came up with an exchange in April – Eastern European countries give Ukraine old Soviet tanks, and Berlin leisurely gives them modern German equipment in return.
Welt recalled how at the end of August the chancellor said why Germany does not give Ukraine tanks directly: “We will not act alone, but we always focus on what our allies are doing.”
“Simply put: as long as the USA does not supply tanks directly to Ukraine, neither will Germany. But Scholz uses this argument to refuse both the supply of armored personnel carriers and battle tanks,” the publication writes.
At the same time, Germany has been supplying American-made M113 armored personnel carriers since mid-August, a model very similar to the Marder. In Ukraine, writes Welt, they do not understand why the application for 100 Marder is still being ignored.