Ramstein summit fails to agree Leopard tanks deal for Ukraine
The United States and its allies failed during talks in Germany to convince Berlin to provide its Leopard battle tanks to Ukraine, a key demand from Kyiv as it tries to breathe new momentum into its fight against Russian forces.
Berlin said it would move quickly to allow allies to transfer Leopards in their own arsenals to Ukraine if consensus was found. But even that appeared to be inconclusive. Germany has been at the center of the tank debate. Ukraine needs German-made Leopard and US M1 Abrams tanks.
The country’s new defense minister, Boris Pistorius, said Berlin would “balance all the pros and contras before we decide things like that… I am very sure that there will be a decision in the short term, but I don’t know how the decision will look.” Berlin has yet to give the go-ahead to Leopard-owning allies like Poland or Finland, who desire to send them to Ukraine.
As the talks concluded, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy acknowledged Kyiv would have to keep fighting to ensure it had enough heavy armor. But he said the Ramstein meeting, which ended with billions of dollars in commitments, would strengthen Ukrainian resilience. “Yes, we will still have to fight for the delivery of modern tanks, but every day we make it more obvious that there is no alternative to taking a decision about tanks,” he said.