Thu, 09 Feb 2023

Brussels [Belgium], January 21 (ANI): The United States and its allies have not reached any agreement on supplying German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine as Russia issued threats that the war could escalate in Europe, Al Jazeera reported.

NATO and defence leaders from about 50 countries met at the American Ramstein Air Base in Germany on Friday, the latest in a series of arms-pledging conferences since Russia invaded Ukraine 11 months ago.

At the meeting, European leaders pushed Germany to give a green light for the delivery of Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine in order to drive back Moscow's forces. No decision was, however, made.

According to Al Jazeera, failure to provide the tanks may indicate growing division within NATO over supplying such weapons.

Germany's defence minister Boris Pistorius denied claims that Berlin was unilaterally blocking the delivery of the Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, but said his government was ready to move quickly on the issue if there were consensus among allies, Al Jazeera reported.

"There are good reasons for the deliveries and there are good reasons against, and in view of the entire situation of a war that has been ongoing for almost one year, all pros and cons must be weighed very carefully," Pistorius said.

There is pressure on Berlin to provide tanks to Kyiv that Ukraine sees as key in its war against Russia.

Pistorius said that there is a view that Germany is standing in the way. "There are many allies who say we share the view that I have put forward here," he said.

Pistorius said that while there was no decision yet on whether to send the Leopard tanks, "We will make our decisions as soon as possible," he said, as quoted by Al Jazeera.

"I am very sure that there will be a decision in the short term but ... I don't know how the decision will look," he said.

Leopard tanks are seen as especially suitable as they are widely in use, meaning several countries could each chip in some of their tanks to support Ukraine.

The US on Thursday (local time) announced a massive new package of USD 2.5 billion in new weaponry, and munitions for Ukraine as the country prepares for a new stage of the war against Russia.

The package does not feature battle tanks requested by Kyiv but includes 90 Stryker armoured personnel carriers, an additional 59 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles, Avenger air defence systems, and large and small munitions, according to a Pentagon statement. (ANI)

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