After weeks of pressure from Western allies, Germany on Wednesday announced it will send battle tanks to Ukraine as the Kyiv’s war with Russia wages on, a move that may spur the U.S. to do the same.
Germany is set to send 14 Leopard 2 battle tanks and approve other countries’ requests to do the same, answering a longstanding call from Kyiv for the heavy combat vehicles.
Poland, in particular, was eager to supply Kyiv with the Leopard tanks — but Germany, which makes them, needed to sign off on the move before the tanks were sent to a country outside of the NATO alliance.
Former U.S. national security adviser John Bolton earlier this week knocked Berlin’s performance during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as “incredibly disappointing” and a potential signal to Moscow of a weakness in the NATO front.
“NATO is a lot more fractured than some of its political leaders would like to let on,” Bolton said, adding that Russian President Vladimir Putin likely saw Germany as “the weak point in the alliance.”
The Biden administration could now move to send additional tanks, a reversal of its initial stance.
“The war started by [Russia] doesn’t allow delays. I can thank you hundreds of times – but hundreds of ‘thank you’ are not hundreds of tanks,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Twitter over the weekend.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.