Germany Approves Shipment Of Older Leopard I Tanks – A German government spokesman confirmed on Friday that Germany had given the go-ahead for the delivery of older Leopard 1 tanks to Kyiv.
A private arms manufacturer will organize the shipment.
“I can confirm that an export license has been issued,” Steffen Hebestreit told reporters at a press briefing on Friday.
While Hebestreit did not confirm the number of tanks expected to be sent to Ukraine, reports published in German media earlier that day claimed that German arms manufacturer Rheinmetall was planning to send 88 of the older model tanks to Kyiv.
The tanks will first undergo renovation and repairs, which will cost more than €100 million.
The announcement comes after Germany agreed, following weeks of discussions with the United States, to allow the re-export of German-manufactured Polish tanks and to export a number of Leopard II tanks from their own stockpile, too.
The U-turn, following initial refusals from Berlin, is made all the more spectacular with the announcement of additional Leopard I tanks procured from private industry.
Russia Predicts Leopard 2 Tanks Are Doomed
Vyacheslav Volodin, the chairman of the Russian State Duma and former aide to President Vladimir Putin, said on Telegram recently that Germany’s Leopard II tanks will ultimately be destroyed on the battlefield in Ukraine.
In the post, which celebrated the 80th anniversary of Russia’s victory in the Battle of Stalingrad, Volodin said that the tanks face the same fate as German Tiger tanks sent to fight in the Second World War.
The Russian official noted how over a million people died in the battle and that not everyone has “learned the lessons of history.”
Volodin had some words for former German Chancellor Angela Merkel in his post, too.
“Merkel, (formerly) holding the post of chancellor, deceived the world community and her people, helping the Kyiv Nazi regime prepare for war,” Volodin claimed.
The Russian official added that the tanks’ fate will be “the same as 80 years ago.”
“The Leopards will be burned, repeating the fate of the fascist Tigers.”
This week, Russian President Vladimir Putin appeared to respond to the news of European allies and the United States sending tanks to Ukraine by threatening to draw on his entire arsenal to win the war in Ukraine.
The Russian president criticized Germany for the decision to send Leopard 2 battle tanks and promised to use all Russia’s resources to destroy them.
Jack Buckby is 19FortyFive’s Breaking News Editor. He is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.