Germany denies blocking Leopard tank deliveries to Ukraine

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Germany’s Defense Minister Boris Pistorius on Friday denied that Berlin was unilaterally blocking the delivery of Leopard main battle tanks to Ukraine but said the government was ready to move quickly on the issue if there was consensus among allies.

Speaking to reporters at a meeting of NATO and defense leaders at the Ramstein Air Base in Germany, Pistorius denied that Berlin was standing in the way of a united coalition behind sending the tanks.

“There are good reasons for the deliveries and there are good reasons against, and in view of the entire situation of a war that has been ongoing for almost one year, all pros and cons must be weighed very carefully,” he said, without elaborating on the reasons.

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Pressure has been building on Berlin to provide tanks to Kyiv that Ukraine sees as key in the war against Russia.

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin earlier urged allies to dig deeper to support Ukraine.

NATO and defense leaders from roughly 50 countries are meeting at Ramstein Air Base, the latest in a series of arms-pledging conferences since Russia invaded Ukraine nearly 11 months ago.

Germany has become one of Ukraine’s top military supporters in response to Russia’s invasion, overcoming a taboo rooted in its bloody 20th century history, but it has not yet agreed to send tanks or allow other countries to send their own German-made tanks.

Leopard tanks are seen as especially suitable for Ukraine as they are widely in use, meaning several countries could each chip in some of their tanks to support Ukraine.

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