Germany will authorize delivery of Guepard-type tanks to Ukraine, a government source said on Tuesday, in a major shift from Berlin’s prudent policy of military support to Kiev.
The details, including the number of tanks, specialized in air defense, will be revealed later on Tuesday by Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht, at a meeting at the American military base in Ramstein (Germany), according to the same source.
The vehicles would come from German defense industry stockpiles.
Nearly 40 countries gather on Tuesday at the Ramstein base at Washington’s invitation to bolster the defense of Ukraine, which US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said “can beat” Russia if given the right equipment.
As Russia seeks complete control of southern Ukraine and the Donbass region, the meeting aims to “generate additional capabilities for Ukrainian forces,” Austin said Monday after a visit to Kiev.
France has already announced the deployment of ‘Caesar’ cannons with a range of 40 km and the UK has donated ‘Starstreak’ anti-aircraft missiles and armored vehicles.
German Head of Government Olaf Scholz has been questioned by several Baltic and Central European countries for his refusal to send heavy weapons requested by Ukraine.
Critics see in his attitude a continuation of the pro-Russian bias of his Social Democratic Party PSD.
In Germany, the political debate is alive, even within the governing coalition, where the Greens and Liberals consider the support provided to Kiev to be insufficient and have asked Scholz to authorize the sending of offensive material, especially armored vehicles.
The chancellor justifies his prudent policy in terms of heavy weapons as a way to avoid a direct confrontation between NATO and Russia, a nuclear power.