Germany promises swift answer on battle tanks for Ukraine

Berlin was expected to announce a decision on Wednesday on the export of powerful German-made Leopard battle tanks long sought by Kiev, and encouraged allies to start training Ukrainian forces to use them.

Western nations have pledged ever-more sophisticated military hardware in recent weeks to help Ukraine repel Russia's invasion, with all eyes in Kiev on the battle tanks.

Berlin stopped short of a green light on Tuesday, but German media -- including newspaper Der Spiegel and news channel NTV -- reported that Chancellor Olaf Scholz would grant approval.

The announcement was set to come Wednesday and also include permission for other countries, including Poland, to transfer their Leopard tanks to Ukraine, the outlets reported.

Washington is also now leaning toward sending a significant number of Abrams M1 tanks to Ukraine, US officials told the Wall Street Journal.

The Free Democratic Party, a member of Germany's ruling political coalition, tweeted Tuesday night: "Germany sends Leopard-Panzer tanks to Ukraine!"

Ukraine and several of its allies have been urging Germany for weeks to allow the delivery of the Leopards, but a US-led meeting of Kiev's allies in Germany last week failed to yield a decision.

German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius said he had "expressly encouraged partner countries that have Leopard tanks that are ready for deployment to train Ukrainian forces on these tanks".

"I expect a decision to be made shortly," he added, following talks with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Berlin.

"We must provide heavier and more advanced systems to Ukraine, and we must do it faster."

Russia's ambassador to the United States, Anatoly Antonov, hit back at reports about Washington...

Continue reading on: