U.S. Piles Pressure on Germany to Provide Ukraine Leopard 2 Tanks

There are high hopes in Kyiv that Friday's Ukraine Defense Contact Group meeting at the U.S. Ramstein air base in Germany will end with an agreement to send German-made main

battle tanks (MBTs) to Ukraine, despite stubborn opposition from Berlin. Chancellor Olaf Scholz is still refusing permission for NATO users of the German-made Leopard 2

tanks to transfer their MBTs to Ukraine, as is normally required under the terms of procurement deals. An unnamed Scholz spokesperson told The Wall Street Journal this week

that Germany will not give permission, nor send any of its own Leopard 2s, unless the U.S. also sends tanks of its own; which would mean the M1A2 Abrams. On Thursday, Deputy

Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh threw cold water on Berlin's proposal, suggesting the different logistical needs of the Abrams and Leopards make the former unsuitable for

transfer to Ukraine. "It's more of a sustainment issue," Singh told reporters. "This is a tank that requires jet fuel, whereas the Leopard and the [British-made] Challenger;

it's a different engine. They require diesel. It's a little bit easier to maintain." "They can maneuver across large portions of territory before they need to refuel. The

maintenance and the high cost that it would take to maintain an Abrams is just—just doesn't make sense to provide that to the Ukrainians at this moment." Kyiv is desperate

for heavy tanks to support its planned counter-offensive operations, which it hopes will eject occupying Russian forces from all land occupied since the full-scale invasion began

on February 24, and set the stage for the liberation of Crimea and the parts of the Donbas region occupied since 2014.