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Ukraine Desperately Needs Leopard 2 Tanks to Fight Russia

Leopard 2 Tank. Image Credit: Creative Commons.
Leopard 2 Tank.

In 335 days of conflict, the Russian military has failed to achieve any of the primary objectives for its invasion of Ukraine.

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Meanwhile, the Ukrainians have put up fierce resistance and managed to liberate large swaths of their country.

However, approximately 18% of Ukrainian land, including the entirety of Crimea, remains under Russian occupation

Russian Casualties in Ukraine: Update 

Overall, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Tuesday, Ukrainian forces have killed approximately 122,170 Russian troops (and wounded approximately twice to thrice that number).

Military equipment destroyed includes: 289 fighter, attack, bomber, and transport jets as well as 281 attack and transport helicopters; 3,152 tanks, 2,148 artillery pieces, and 6,284 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles; 448 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems; 18 boats and cutters; 4,944 vehicles and fuel tanks; 220 anti-aircraft batteries; 1,897 tactical unmanned aerial systems; 194 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems; and 749 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses. 

“We Will Not Stand By Idly” 

The saga of the Leopard 2 main battle tank continues

The good news is that German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, Berlin has finally signaled a willingness to greenlight transfers of Leopard 2 main battle tanks from third countries to Ukraine.

The German foreign minister said that Berlin “would not stand in the way” of Poland if Warsaw wanted to send tanks to Ukraine.

As the manufacturer, Germany has to grant re-export permission to any Leopard 2 operator that wants to send the tank to Ukraine. 

But soon after Baerbock’s statement, a German government spokesperson came out and said that any request by a third country to re-export the Leopard 2 tank must first be discussed in the Federal Security Council. 

German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius also intervened, saying that a decision on the Leopard 2 would be made soon.

Pistorius added that the main battle tank “is a heavy, armored weapon that can also be used for offensive purposes. And you have to think very carefully about when you bring them.”

However, Berlin has done nothing more than procrastinate and confuse when it comes to security aid to Ukraine.

German officials often contradict each other. 

German inefficiency has even created a new potential word: “Scholzing,” which British historian Timothy Garton Ash proposed to mean “communicating good intentions only to use/find/invent any reason imaginable to delay these and/or prevent them from happening.”

Other NATO members and partners are growing increasingly tired of the German position and are threatening unilateral action.

Poland, which neighbors both Ukraine and Russia and has been a great supporter of Kyiv, threatened to act without Berlin’s approval.  

“We will not stand by idly and watch Ukraine bleed to death. If we don’t get German agreement on the Leopards, we will build a ‘smaller coalition’ of countries ready to donate some of their modern tanks to a fighting Ukraine,” Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said

The longer Germany delays sending or approving the transfer of tanks to Ukraine, the more Ukrainian soldiers and civilians die. 

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Expert Biography: A 19FortyFive Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist specializing in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate. 

1945’s Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist with specialized expertise in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate. His work has been featured in Business Insider, Sandboxx, and SOFREP.