The next Ramstein Format meeting for the defense of Ukraine will take place in Germany today. Defense leaders from approximately
The next Ramstein Format meeting for the defense of Ukraine will take place in Germany today.
Defense leaders from approximately 50 countries will attend and are expected to discuss supplying Kyiv with German-made Leopard 2 battle tanks — although Berlin has hesitated for fear of further escalating the conflict with Russia. Ukrainian military chiefs want the tanks to gear up for a spring offensive against Russia and break through lines of trenches in Luhansk and the Zaporizhzhia region.
Poland and Finland already declared their intention to send Leopards to Ukraine, though they require Berlin’s approval. Following a call between U.S. President Joe Biden and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, it appears Berlin will likely permit its allies to send the tanks. In turn, Germany will provide its own tanks on the condition that the U.S. follows suit. German defense minister Boris Pistorius will likely discuss these stipulations with U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin in a conversation ahead of the Ramstein meeting.
Still, even if Berlin agrees, German arms firm Rheinmetall says the Leopard 2 tanks wouldn’t be ready until 2024, due to repair and refurbishment requirements. Given this obstacle, Berlin might also donate several older Leopard 1 tanks that are currently in storage.