Germany says no decision on tanks despite Ukraine pleas

© Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via REUTERS

Germany on Friday said no decision has been made yet on tanks sought by Kyiv at a crucial US-led meeting on boosting military aid to Ukraine, despite an emotional plea from President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Expectations grew ahead of the meeting at the Ramstein Air Base in Germany that Ukraine's Western allies would agree to send German-made Leopard tanks, amid mounting pressure from several European countries to do so.

But German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius told reporters on the sidelines of the event that "we still cannot say when a decision will be taken, and what the decision will be, when it comes to the Leopard tank".

He also denied accusations that Germany alone was blocking tank deliveries. The impression that "there is a united coalition and that Germany is standing in the way is wrong," he said.

Pistorius added that he has ordered a stock-take of Leopards so that action can follow quickly if the decision were to be positive for delivery.

Leopard tanks

Kyiv wants the powerful Leopard tanks to press offensives against Russian troops, but the Kremlin has warned their delivery by the West would amount to an "extremely dangerous" escalation.

Germany's hesitation so far on supplying the tanks has led to fierce criticism of Berlin from other countries such as Finland and Poland, which have their own stocks of Leopards but would need German approval to send them.

But it did not include the ATA long-range missiles sought by Ukraine.

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