Pistorius: No news yet on Leopard tanks for Ukraine, decision to be made soon
This was stated by German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius, who spoke at a joint press conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Berlin on January 24, an Ukrinform correspondent reports.
"There is no news yet about Leopard tanks. I assume that a decision will be made soon," the minister said, adding that, if a positive decision is made, everything will be done very quickly.
Currently, inventory inspection is being carried out in order to agree on technical details and compatibility of the equipment in question.
At the same time, the minister emphasized that training for Ukrainian soldiers in those countries that are ready to hand over their vehicles can begin without hindrance. "Germany does not stand in their way," the minister said.
He reiterated that Germany is not isolated in this matter, being the only country that continues to consider the issue of supplying offensive tanks.
The head of the Bundeswehr also emphasized: "The principle remains: NATO must not become a party to the war. But at the same time, for the Alliance, it remains a central task, an obligation to do everything possible to help Ukraine as a state against which a brutal unprovoked attack was committed, and at the same time to send a clear signal of our unity and determination to the aggressor, Russia," Pistorius said.
He categorically denied the claim there is a split in the ranks of NATO allies amid the discussion of tanks’ supplies to Ukraine
"NATO allies stand together, and Germany will fulfill its obligations in every sense," the German minister said, recalling that last week, his country announced a spring package of military aid to Ukraine worth EUR 1.1 billion (now the total amount of German assistance exceeds EUR 3.3 billion).
According to him, Germany is one of the main arms suppliers besides the USA, and only Great Britain comes close to such figures. The German government official also said that the task of Germany, which aspires to the leading role, is to prevent the impression that there is any split among the allies. The politician called on partners not to form such an impression through a public discussion.
Stoltenberg arrived the day before in the German capital to "get acquainted" with the new head of the Bundeswehr, who was appointed to this position last Thursday.
As reported, defense chiefs of more than 50 countries during the eighth meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group at the Ramstein base in Germany failed to reach an agreement on the supply of Leopard tanks to Ukraine. German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said that a decision could be made in the near future, stopping short of suggesting the timeframe. In an interview with the German TV channel ARD, he said that the government has to consider multiple factors and that the country will not make a hasty decision. Such factors include the security implications for the German population.
On January 21, Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov stated that, despite the fact that at the regular Ramstein meeting no announcement came on the provision of tanks to Ukraine, the countries that own Leopard tanks will start training missions for Ukrainian tankers anyway.
On January 23, Minister for Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba said that the issue of supplying Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine is at the final stage, and that the last "half step" remains to be taken.
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