by Julia Dahm
Chancellor Olaf Scholz was not ready to meet Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Schmyhal’s calls for fresh arms deliveries despite the German industry’s offer to provide Leopard 2 tanks for Kyiv, according to media reports.
His position became clear amid bilateral talks during Schmyhal’s visit to Berlin this past weekend, Welt reported on Tuesday, citing Kyiv government sources.
Instead, the chancellor allegedly remained “general and vague” and did not show “any willingness” to soften his stance.
Scholz’s opposition to the shipments is although, according to the report, German weapon manufacturer Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) had offered Kyiv that it could supply 100 Leopard 2A7 tanks, including spare parts and training for soldiers to be able to operate them.
According to the company, the first tanks could be ready for shipment 36 months after striking the deal; the last ones would be delivered within 65 months.
Altogether, the products offered amount to €1.55 billion. However, KMW has not filed a request to gain permission to export from the Germans, while the chancellor’s office refused to comment on the matter.
The argument that Ukrainian troops, who are usually trained on Soviet-style equipment, would not be able to operate modern Western tanks, had been used by the German government to justify previous decisions against heavy weapon deliveries to Ukraine.
However, Berlin has since promised several charges of weapon shipments, many of which are still to be delivered.
*first published in: Euractiv.com