Scholz is asked on whether he will send Leopard tanks to Ukraine
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Guy Verhofstadt today raged at Germany for being a “troublemaker” as he fumed that the EU was “divided” in a row over sending tanks to Ukraine. The Belgian MEP took to Twitter to urge Berlin to allow Poland to export Germany-made tanks to the war-torn country.
Warsaw has offered to provide a company of German-built Leopard 2 battle tanks to Kyiv.
But because the tanks were originally imported from Germany it would have to be signed off by Berlin before they can be re-exported.
Mr Verhofstadt tweeted an article on Poland’s PM Mateusz Morawiecki saying he would send the tanks to Ukraine, even without Berlin’s permission.
The MEP said: “EU divided in the face of Putin’s existential threat… and this time not Poland but Germany is the troublemaker… Sovereignty starts with unity! #FreeTheLeopards.”
Mr Verhofstadt’s latest intervention comes after he hit out at German Chancellor Olaf Scholtz yesterday over sending tanks to Kyiv – a key demand of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
He shared a report claiming that Berlin will not allow the export of German tanks to Ukraine unless the US sends its own armoured vehicles.
Mr Verhofstadt said: “The approach of the German Chancellor makes no sense. France and Britain send tanks, but now Germany wants to set conditions on US?!
“It’s our backyard. Ukraine defends EU from a genocidal dictator, with its own blood. Enough!”
It comes as Britain is leading the way becoming the first nation to supply Ukraine with modern Western tanks which Kyiv hopes it will unlock similar offers of support from other Nato allies.
The UK will send 14 Challenger 2 main battle tanks, to be followed by around 30 AS90s.
Mr Zelensky has called for some 300 modern Western battle tanks to enable his forces to take the offensive against the Russians.
In practice this is likely to mean US Abrams tanks and German Leopard 2s – or a combination of the two – which are potentially available in far greater numbers than the Challenger 2.
It comes as Nato allies will be hosted by the US at a meeting in Ramstein in Germany tomorrow.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace today called on the West to step up support to Ukraine to enable it finally to drive out Russian forces from its territory.
Speaking during a visit to Estonia where he met defence ministers from eastern Europe ahead of tomorrow’s meeting, Mr Wallace said the UK will be supplying a further 600 Brimstone precision-guided missiles in addition to its latest support package, which includes the 14 tanks.
He said: “In 2023, it is time to turn the momentum that the Ukrainians have achieved in pushing back Russia into gains and making sure Russia understands that the purpose now is to push them back out of Ukraine and to restore Ukraine’s sovereignty, which is their right under international law.”
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