Germany pressed on tanks for Ukraine; Kyiv airs frustration

Jan 18, 2023, 11:48 AM | Updated: Jan 19, 2023, 12:51 pm
Britain's Defence Secretary Ben Wallace speaks to the media during his visit to the Tapa Military C...

Britain's Defence Secretary Ben Wallace speaks to the media during his visit to the Tapa Military Camp, in Estonia, Thursday, Jan. 19, 2023. Wallace said his country would send at least three batteries of AS-90 artillery, armoured vehicles, thousands of rounds of ammunition and 600 Brimstone missiles, as well as the squadron of Challenger 2 tanks. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

(AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

BERLIN (AP) — Germany faced mounting pressure to supply battle tanks to Kyiv and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy aired frustration about not obtaining enough weaponry as Western allies conferred Thursday on how best to support Ukraine nearly 11 months into Russia’s invasion.

Since the U.K. announced last week that it will send Challenger 2 tanks, Berlin has faced increasing calls to supply Leopard 2 tanks or at least clear the way for others, such as Poland, to deliver German-made Leopards from their own stock.

Germany’s new defense minister, Boris Pistorius, left open whether that will happen and under what conditions after meeting U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on his first day in office.

He told ARD television he was “pretty sure we will get a decision on this in the coming days, but I can’t yet tell you today how it will look.”

Austin will host a regular coordination meeting of Ukraine’s Western allies at the United States’ Ramstein Air Base in Germany Friday.

Speaking by video link on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, Zelenskyy offered a veiled critique of major supporters such as Germany and the U.S. that have nonetheless hesitated about sending tanks.

He bemoaned a “lack of specific weaponry.” Speaking through an interpreter, he said: “There are times where we shouldn’t hesitate or we shouldn’t compare when someone says, ‘I will give tanks if someone else will also share his tanks.'”

Ukraine’s foreign and defense ministers said that the promised British tanks, while welcome, are “not sufficient to achieve operational goals.”

“We guarantee that we will use these weapons responsibly and exclusively for the purposes of protecting the territorial integrity of Ukraine within internationally recognized borders,” Dmytro Kuleba and Oleksii Reznikov said in a statement, appealing to Germany and several other countries that use the Leopard 2 to join an “international tank coalition.”

For months, Ukraine has sought heavier vehicles such as the Leopard and U.S. Abrams tanks, but Western leaders have trodden carefully.

Germany has been particularly in focus recently. Critics, some inside Germany’s governing coalition, have long complained of Chancellor OIaf Scholz’s perceived hesitancy to take the next step when it comes to weapons deliveries.

Scholz has been wary of pressure, insisting that Germany wouldn’t go it alone and pointing to a need to ensure that NATO doesn’t become a party to the war with Russia, though every time so far Berlin has eventually moved ahead. He portrays his cautious weighing of each step as a virtue.

In Davos Wednesday, Scholz avoided directly answering a question about Leopards, saying Germany will remain one of Ukraine’s top weapons suppliers and that “we are never doing something just by ourselves, but together with others — especially the United States.”

German officials have conveyed their hesitancy to allow allies to give Leopards unless the U.S. also sends Ukraine the Abrams, according to a U.S. official who wasn’t authorized to comment and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Asked whether Germany would only deliver Leopards if Washington supplies the Abrams, Pistorius replied that he isn’t “aware of such a package.” But he insisted that aid must continue to be “coordinated” and it’s important for Germany to proceed “shoulder-to-shoulder with the Americans.”

An upcoming new package of U.S. military aid is expected to include nearly 100 Stryker combat vehicles and at least 50 Bradley armored vehicles — but not the Abrams, which U.S. officials say has complex maintenance needs and may not be the best fit.

“The maintenance and the high cost that it would take to maintain an Abrams — it just doesn’t make sense to provide that to the Ukrainians at this moment,” spokeswoman Sabrina Singh said at a Pentagon briefing Thursday.

Some eastern NATO allies have provided Soviet-era T-72 tanks to Ukrainian forces, but officials acknowledge that supplies of Soviet-era equipment with which Ukrainian forces were already familiar are limited.

Senior officials from Britain, Poland, the Baltic nations and other European countries met in Estonia on Thursday before the Ramstein gathering.

U.K. Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said his country would send at least three batteries of AS-90 artillery, armored vehicles, thousands of rounds of ammunition and 600 Brimstone missiles, as well as the squadron of Challenger 2 tanks.

Wallace told The Associated Press that the decision to send battle tanks was a “natural progression” of U.K. military support for Ukraine and was discussed with the U.S.

“If you’re going to donate armored personnel carriers, you need to complement that with tanks,” he said. “We had some tanks that we thought could do that.”

Wallace acknowledged that the Challenger shipment “is not the single magic ingredient” for Ukraine, which has said it needs 300 tanks, among other weapons, to expel Russian forces. But he voiced hope that it will complement Bradley armored vehicles the U.S. is already supplying and help “lead the way” for others to send tanks.

Estonia announced its largest military aid package to date, including howitzers, ammunition, artillery support equipment and grenade launchers.

Elsewhere, Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said his country has decided to send up to 50 Swedish-made combat vehicles plus a shoulder-fired anti-tank missile system and the Archer artillery system to Ukraine.

Denmark plans to donate 19 French-made Caesar self-propelled howitzers.


Jamey Keaten reported from Davos, Switzerland. Associated Press reporters Aamer Madhani in Washington, Dasha Litvinova in Tallinn, Estonia, and Jan M. Olsen in Copenhagen, Denmark, contributed to this report.


Follow AP’s coverage of the war in Ukraine:

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


The logo for OpenAI, the maker of ChatGPT, appears on a mobile phone, in New York, Tuesday, Jan. 31...
Associated Press

Cheaters beware: ChatGPT maker releases AI detection tool

ChatGPT is trying to curb its reputation as a freewheeling cheating machine with a new tool that can help detect if artificial intelligence wrote it
19 hours ago
This undated photo provided by the Grants Pass Police Department shows Benjamin Obadiah Foster. Fos...
Rio Yamat and Andrew Selsky, Associated Press

Oregon kidnap suspect previously released the day he arrived at prison

A man at the center of an intense police search in Oregon after a violent kidnapping last week was released from custody in October 2021 by Nevada prison officials on the same day he was transferred to the state's custody to serve a kidnapping sentence, authorities said Monday.
19 hours ago
The final Boeing 747 sits on the tarmac outside of the factory at a ceremony for delivery, Tuesday,...
Associated Press

Boeing bids farewell to an icon, delivers last 747 jumbo jet

SEATTLE (AP) — Boeing bid farewell to an icon on Tuesday, delivering its final 747 jumbo jet as thousands of workers who helped build the planes over the past 55 years looked on. Since its first flight in 1969, the giant yet graceful 747 has served as a cargo plane, a commercial aircraft capable of […]
19 hours ago
seattle police...
Associated Press

Name of Seattle officer in crash that killed woman released

Police have released the name of a Seattle police officer who was responding to a medical call when his patrol SUV hit and killed a 23-year-old Jaahnavi Kandula last week in a city crosswalk.
19 hours ago
In this image made from a video, cheesecakes made with CBD, CBD powder and water-soluble CBD sold b...
Associated Press

Hong Kong bans CBD, forcing businesses to shut or revamp

HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong banned CBD as a “dangerous drug” and imposed harsh penalties for its possession on Wednesday, forcing fledging businesses to shut down or revamp. Supporters say CBD, or cannabidiol, derived from the cannabis plant, can help relieve stress and inflammation without getting its users high, unlike its more famous cousin […]
19 hours ago
Las Vegas police work near the home of former actor Nathan Lee Chasing His Horse, who goes by Natha...
Associated Press

‘Dances With Wolves’ actor arrested in Nevada sex abuse case

NORTH LAS VEGAS (AP) — Las Vegas police on Tuesday arrested and raided the home of a former “Dances With Wolves” actor turned alleged cult leader accused of sexually assaulting young indigenous girls during a period spanning two decades, according to police records obtained by The Associated Press. Nathan Lee Chasing His Horse, who goes […]
19 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Germany pressed on tanks for Ukraine; Kyiv airs frustration