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Jens Stoltenberg ‘confident’ there will be a solution soon on German tanks debacle

Poland officially requested the transfer of Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine on Tuesday, according to Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak.

“The Germans have already received our request for consent to the transfer of Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine,” he wrote on Twitter.

“I also appeal to the German side to join the coalition of countries supporting Ukraine with Leopard 2 tanks. This is our common cause because it is about the security of the whole of Europe!”

Germany, the producer of the tanks, has been hesitant to become involved in the conflict over fears that sending equipment to Ukraine could exacerbate tensions with Russia.

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg, in a press conference alongside the German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius, said he was “confident” a decision would be made soon on sending the German-made tanks to the embattled country.

He added the contentious issue had been discussed after Berlin failed to reach an agreement on Friday with Western partners at a meeting at the US Ramstein air base.

Pistorius said the decision ultimately depended on the Chancellor, in keeping with the German law on the export of weapons intended for warfare, and that there was “no new information yet”.

He added he expected a decision to be made shortly, but in the meantime, had “strongly encouraged” partner countries in possession of the tanks to start training Ukrainian forces on how to use them.

Ukraine and the west fear a new Russian offensive in the spring and preparations are underway to hinder the invading forces. 

On the potential delivery of tanks to Ukraine, the Kremlin’s spokesperson Dmitry Peskov has warned: “such deliveries will not bring anything good to the Russian-German relationship”.