Germany approves sending battle tanks to Ukraine

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BERLIN / KYIV / MOSCOW :Germany has confirmed that it will send Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine and approve their re-export from other countries, in a move that was hailed by Kyiv’s Western allies and decried by Russia as a dangerous escalation.
Fourteen of the German-made tanks will be sent initially as part of Berlin’s historic move, announced on Wednesday.

“This decision follows our well-known line of supporting Ukraine to the best of our ability. We are acting in a closely coordinated manner internationally,” Chancellor Olaf Scholz said in a statement.
The government said its goal was for Germany and its allies to provide Ukraine with a total of two battalions, or 88 tanks overall.
Ukrainian troops will soon train in Germany and Berlin will also provide logistics and ammunition, its statement added.

The head of Ukraine’s presidential administration, Andriy Yermak, welcomed the news on social media, saying: “The first step on tanks has been taken … We need a lot of Leopards.”
But the Russian embassy in Germany said Berlin’s decision meant it was abandoning its “historical responsibility to Russia” arising from Nazi crimes in World War Two.

In a statement, the embassy said that the decision would escalate the conflict to a new level.
“This extremely dangerous decision takes the conflict to a new level of confrontation and contradicts the statements of German politicians about the unwillingness of the Federal Republic of Germany to be drawn into it,” Ambassador Sergei Nechayev said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has appealed for 300 tanks from Western allies to unleash a “real punching fist of democracy” to force Russian troops out of his country.