Why is Germany under pressure to send tanks to Ukraine?

The outcome of Ukraine’s increasing push for Western tanks depends in large part on Germany. For months, Kyiv has implored Western allies to send battle tanks to

help retake territory Russia has captured in Ukraine’s south and east. After nearly a year at war, Ukrainian officials insist Western-made tanks — and one type in particular, the

Leopard 2 — could be the missing element. The calculus behind which weapons and systems Western allies are willing to send has been in continual flux, as battlefield

conditions shift, as Ukrainian capabilities — and the trust of its allies — increase and as Western powers adjust their thinking on what moves would risk intolerable escalation

with Russia, which has levied nuclear threats. Britain became the first country to promise Western-produced main battle tanks to Ukraine last week, when the prime

minister’s office said it would send 14 Challenger 2 tanks in the coming weeks — a small allotment, but one that could pressure others. But Britain doesn’t have many to spare. The

United States has held off from sending its own M1 Abrams tanks, citing concerns about Ukraine’s ability to maintain them. That’s turned attention to the German-made

Leopards, around 2,000 of which are scattered across Europe. Poland and Finland say they want to send some of theirs to Ukraine. The catch: Under deals with purchasers, the German

government has to sign off on any transfer.