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What are Leopard 2 tanks and what are the countries that announced shipments to Ukraine?

A new twist could have the conflict between Russia and Ukraine after Germany’s authorization to allow other countries to send their Leopard 2 tanks after weeks of uncertainty.

The decision comes despite the Russian threat that this will not bring “anything good for the future of the relationship” between the two countries.

Olaf Scholz, head of the German government, said that the decision seeks to avoid an escalation with Russia.

“In everything we do, we must always make it clear that we are doing what is necessary and possible to support Ukraine. At the same time, we must prevent the conflict from escalating into a war between Russia and NATO,” Scholz said in a speech to the lower house of the German Parliament.

Germany approves delivery of Leopard tanks to Ukraine

The Russian ambassador to Germany, Sergei Nechaev, criticized the decision on Wednesday as “extremely dangerous” and said “it will bring the conflict to a new level of confrontation.”

A European bloc source noted that the tanks are “not an escalation tool, given their probable use by the Ukrainians” only on their territory, not beyond.

After the decision, several countries have announced their intention and even a decision to send the tanks, one of them was the United States, through its president Joe Biden.

These deliveries and military aid are part of the “commitment by countries around the world, led by the United States, to help Ukraine defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity (…) It is not an offensive threat to Russia,” he said in a short statement.

Another of the nations that joined this was Spain, which indicated that it was willing to coordinate the dispatch of combat tanks and train Ukrainian soldiers.

“We will contact the coordination group created by the allies [para] see what the needs are and, within the needs, what are Spain’s own capabilities to be able to make shipments”, added Margarita Robles, Minister of Defense.

According to the minister, “the vast majority” of the Leopards that Spain has “need a set-up” before they can be delivered.

“Some others are in a sorry state” and “cannot be subject to any type of delivery,” he acknowledged.

According to the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), Spain currently has 327 Leopard tanks.

Poland and Finland had already expressed their wish to send the weapons, but they could not do so without German authorization.

Why are Leopard tanks so important?

This is a heavy tank that was built in the late 1970s to replace the American M48 Patton main battle tank and later the Leopard 1. About 3,500 have been produced.

Weighing 60 tons, it is equipped with a 120mm cannon and can fire while on the move. Its maximum speed is 70 km/h thanks to its 1,500 horsepower.

This should be operated by four people.

Fears of Germany to allow the shipment of Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine

The advantages indicated about the tank are the availability of parts and ammunition since its use is widespread in Europe.

The last four models are still in use. This is the case of 2A4, of which Poland proposes to deliver 14 to kyiv, and of 2A7, which Germany does not want to get rid of because it prefers to keep it to ensure its own defense.

Germany, which according to the press would have a total of 312 Leopard 2s, of which a hundred are under maintenance, will deliver 14 examples of the 2A6 model.

This model is equipped with a 1.32 meter longer barrel than previous versions and can fire more powerful ammunition with greater accuracy.

This tank, which was used in Afghanistan, also features enhanced mine protection.

Finland, which has more than 200 2A4 model tanks, according to the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), is also willing to provide one to the Ukrainian army.

The Netherlands could also deliver 18 2A4 tanks, Prime Minister Mark Rutte told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

Spain is also willing to participate in the effort. Greece, with 350 tanks, and Turkey, which has used them against Kurdish forces in northern Syria, have the most 2A4s. (YO)

Source: Eluniverso

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