WorldDelivery of Leopard tanks to Ukraine: why did the German “green light”...

Delivery of Leopard tanks to Ukraine: why did the German “green light” take so long


“Discussions must end with decisions” urged Ukrainian Volodymyr Zelensky on Tuesday evening. After several weeks of delay, the Ukrainian president was heard: Germany on Wednesday gave the go-ahead for the supply of tanks. A file long blocked by Berlin, which has the last word on military equipment produced on its territory.

This is indeed a legal mechanism, which, since some countries want to increase their support for Kyiv, is blocking the famous Leopard-2 at the borders. As practiced by other countries in their defense industries, the re-export or donation of German-made weapons does depend on Berlin’s approval.

“Sensitive Zone”

This mechanism is also described in detail on the website of the German Ministry of Economics. because it’s not “export like others”Berlin follows”particularly restrictive policy” sell their military equipment, “sensitive area”. Thus, the government makes sure that its weapons are not “violation of human rights” or at “aggravate the crisis” in the countries that buy them.

Like France, Germany also wants to ensure that weapons produced on its territory do not violate international treaties that it may have signed. Such is the case with the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT): it lays down rules to prevent weapons from being trafficked into countries where they are known to be used to commit or facilitate genocide, crimes against humanity, or other serious violations of human rights. Hence the establishment of a re-export veto: a country cannot export legally purchased weapons, in this case German Leopard 2s, without permission from Berlin.

Individual study

As the German ministry reminds us, this green light is being studied on a case-by-case basis. “In every detailed consideration, the maintenance of peace, security and stability, as well as the observance of human rights, is of paramount importance,” the authorities say. It is also difficult not to take into account the domestic political scene in order to explain the time required for such a decision to be made. Because the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Defense and Chancellery must agree before the Ministry of Economy signs the final form.

In addition, Chancellor Olaf Scholz belongs to the SPD movement, which has long been promoting a form of agreement with Moscow that is difficult to break overnight. The Germans themselves are divided on the possible supply of tanks: 46% in favor, 43% against, according to a recent poll by the public channel ARD.

Despite these brakes, Berlin eventually succumbed to pressure from its allies, as well as President Zelensky, who never ceased to criticize the slowness of the process. Germany is really going to supply Ukraine with 14 Leopard 2A6 tanks from the warehouses of the Bundeswehr and is going to allow countries that so desire to supply Kyiv with the tanks they have.


Thomas Guyen


Source: TF1

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