Defence leaders meeting at a US air base in Germany on Friday failed to resolve divisions over providing advanced battle tanks to Ukraine after more than five hours of discussions about sending more military aid to the embattled country in its war with Russia.
The defence minister of Poland, which has pledged a company of 14 Leopard tanks on condition that other countries also supply them, said 15 countries that have the German-made Leopards discussed the issue but no decisions were made.
Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak called the meeting a “good discussion among allies” and said the matter would be discussed again at future talks.
Though the tank debate was unresolved, Germany’s new defence minister suggested the issue was moving forward.
Germany would need to consent for the tanks to be given to Ukraine, which is not a member of NATO. Despite pleas from Ukrainian officials, Germany has so far resisted mounting pressure to quickly supply Leopard 2 tanks to Kyiv, or at least clear the way for other countries, such as Poland, to deliver them from their own stocks.
Speaking to reporters outside the conference hall at midday, German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said that while there was no resolution yet, “we will make our decisions as soon as possible.”
He said he had ordered the ministry to look into the tank stocks Germany has so he can be prepared for a possible green light and be able to “act immediately.” Pistorius added that Germany will “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.”
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