Germany agreed to send Ukraine Leopard 2 tanks on Wednesday and allowed the re-export of its tanks by other countries to Ukraine. The move was made after Germany had initially expressed concern about sending tanks and coming into direct confrontation with Russia.
Ukraine has been requesting main battle tanks from its Western allies for months.
The tanks would give Ukraine mobility and protection to potentially reclaim territory.
“I would like to say thank you to Germany, to Britain and to the United States that they made this decision. Overall, I am very thankful to the world for the support for Ukraine," Ukraine President Voldymr Zelensky said.
"But speaking frankly, the number of tanks and the delivery time to Ukraine is critical."
The move to send main battle tanks to Ukraine marks a change in Western support.
The West is now sending arms that are offensive rather than just defensive.
The Russian embassy in Berlin called Germany’s decision “extremely dangerous”.
They also said that the decision could draw Germany into the conflict.
Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin’s spokesperson denounced the move “The main thing is, this is a completely obvious overestimation of the potential that (the supply of tanks) would add to the Armed Forces of Ukraine," Peskov said.
"It is yet another fallacy, a rather profound one. We reiterated that these tanks will burn down just like all the other ones. Except they cost a lot, and this will fall on the shoulders of European taxpayers."
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz urged his country to trust him in his decision. He also said that Germany would be providing training, munitions and maintenance of the systems.
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