Germany must give its Leopard 2 tanks to Ukrainian army to fight Russia, former NATO commander told Weekly newspaper.
Sir Richard Sharif, former deputy supreme commander of Allied forces in Europe (2011-2014), said the key issue at Friday’s meeting of the U.S. leadership of its allies in Kyiv at Ramstein air base in Germany will be the provision of Western tanks to fend off Russia. The army stormed and launched a counter-offensive.
Poland and Finland is one of the countries with these tank made in germany And willing to supply them to Kyiv, which relies on far less advanced Soviet-era variants, primarily the T-72.
However, the re-export of the Leopard 2 would require the approval of the German government, something that German Chancellor Olaf Schulz has so far been reluctant to do, saying that Western tanks can only be used if there is an agreement between Kyiv’s key allies, especially the United States. supply
“While the Germans are in pain, the pain has been going on long enough, frankly, that the Germans have to get under control and give Leopard 2 the green light,” Shirreff told Weekly newspaper.
“It’s simple. If the Ukrainians don’t get the offensive capabilities they need, they won’t be able to achieve their military goals, which will give Russia a chance to come back,” he said. “There are a lot of signs right now that this is happening.”
Germany has been a significant donor of military aid to Ukraine but, like other Western countries, is trying to take a line out of a more direct role in the war, as Moscow warns that supplying Ukraine with arms could escalate the situation.
Sharif, who said september NATO is not preparing for the “worst-case scenario” of a war with Russia, arguing that Ukraine’s ally “continues to withhold the really significant offensive capabilities that Ukraine really needs,” which includes armored infantry fighting vehicles in addition to tanks.
“Of course, to be fair, HIMARS has made a huge difference, once patriot (Missile system) coming online, it will have a huge impact,” he said.
“But I think the real sticking point, and the key decision for Ramstein to make, is tanking,” added Shirreff, who is also executive vice chairman of Sigma7 Global Risk Outcomes.
The Leopard 2 is used by 13 European militaries and has a sophisticated fire control system that automatically detects and tracks targets.
Its crew also had a much higher chance of surviving a hit than the T-72, and it also had a longer range than many other tanks, according to Military Today, which ranked it among the top ten tanks in the world.
Gustav Gressel, senior policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR), said: Weekly newspaper There is a large stock of spare Leopard 2s that can be delivered after a relatively short overhaul.
Most spare parts are interchangeable across all versions of the tank, which increases flexibility in managing spare parts and maintenance. This would “provide Ukraine with an unrivaled advantage in war-stretched logistics,” he said.
Following reports this week that Berlin was softening its stance, a government source told Reuters that the United States would send German-made tanks to Ukraine if it did the same.
At the arms pledging conference in Ramstein, Germany’s new defense minister, Boris Pistorius, will speak with the Defense leaders from some 50 countries met.
Weekly newspaper Contact the German Foreign Office for comment.