Kyiv: The German government has announced that it will provide Ukraine with Leopard 2 battle tanks, in coordination with its allies.

The initial delivery, to be made from Germany’s own stocks, will include 14 vehicles, with the goal of providing a total of two battalions, or 88 tanks.

The decision, which marks the end of weeks of hesitation, comes shortly after U.S. officials revealed a preliminary agreement to send M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine. This move is seen as an attempt to spread the risk of any potential backlash from Russia.

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Ekkehard Brose, head of the German military’s Federal Academy for Security Policy, underlined the historic significance of the decision.

He said that German-made tanks will be facing off against Russian tanks in Ukraine and that it is the responsibility of Western democracies to help Ukraine put a stop to Russia’s military campaign.

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In response, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called the plan “a rather disastrous idea”, citing technological aspects and the high cost to taxpayers.

The Russian Embassy in Germany also issued a statement, accusing Berlin of abandoning its “historical responsibility” to Russia and claiming that the tank deliveries would lead to “permanent escalation” in the conflict.

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