LONDON — Germany should give the go-ahead to donate its Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, Britain’s Defense Secretary has told MPs.
Ben Wallace confirmed in the House of Commons on Monday that the UK will send a squadron of 14 Challenger 2 tanks to Ukraine, as part of a wider package of military aid for the country.
The UK announcement comes after France pledged on Friday to send AMX-10 RC light battle tanks to Kyiv in two months.
Praising France for the move, Wallace encouraged German ministers to follow suit by donating Leopard 2 tanks and allowing third countries to do the same. Defense ministers from Ukraine’s western allies are due to meet at the US base in Ramstein, Germany, on Friday to discuss continued military support for Kyiv.
“After discussions with the United States and our European allies, we hope that the example set by the French and we will allow countries with Leopard tanks to also donate,” Wallace said. “I know there are a number of countries that want to do the same – no one is doing it alone.
“I urge my German colleagues to do so. These tanks are not offensive when used for defensive methods,” he added.
The UK’s latest package also includes “hundreds” of additional armored vehicles, Wallace said, including Bulldogs; a maneuver support package including demining capabilities; “dozens of additional unmanned aerial systems”; and another 100,000 artillery shells.
Wallace said Russia had lost about 1,600 main battle tanks since the start of the war and claimed it was using forced convict labor to manufacture weapons.
He described Russia’s appointment of Valery Gerasimov as chief of staff and deputy defense minister last week as “certainly significant”.
“Putin apparently remains optimistic and with Gerasimov’s deference to the president no doubt, we would now expect a tendency to revert to a Russian offensive, regardless of the death toll that accompanies it,” he said. he declares.
Ukrainian servicemen will “immediately” be trained in tank operation in the United Kingdom and other European countries, including Germany, but the United States will lead much of that training, Wallace said.