As Ukraine intensifies its counter-offensive against the Russian invasion in the country’s south and east, Deputy Foreign Minister Andriy Melnyk is appealing for more German-made Leopard 2 tanks, n-tv reports. This call comes in the wake of initial losses in the conflict. Experts from Germany’s FDP and CDU political parties are expressing support for this request.
Melnyk was quoted in Berlin’s Tagesspiegel: “The Ukrainian army most urgently needs many more Western battle tanks, infantry fighting vehicles and other armored vehicles.”
Noting the value of the Leopard 2 tanks in the ongoing offensive, the former Ukrainian ambassador in Berlin underscored that the German military could increase its provision beyond the already delivered 18 units from a pool of more than 300 without compromising Germany’s defense capabilities. Melnyk suggested the number could be tripled.
Additionally, Melnyk requested that the Ukrainian army be granted “another 60 Marder infantry fighting vehicles.” Before this, Kyiv’s Mayor Vitali Klitschko had also requested more German tanks in light of the current military situation.
Supporting Melnyk’s request, CDU security policy maker Roderich Kiesewetter told Tagesspiegel that supporters should “immediately replace all destroyed material – including Leopard battle tanks and infantry fighting vehicles – and supply additional material.”
FDP defense politician Marcus Faber added that “clear statements about the replacement of lost material” could “support the victims in their offensive.” As an example, Faber mentioned that the Bundestag decided to replace Leopard-2 submissions from the German army. “We can therefore increase the quantities for aid,” said Faber.
Melnyk also reiterated the demand for Germany to provide Taurus cruise missiles and assist in building a robust Ukrainian air force. Ukraine is “waiting for Germany’s strategic decision to actively participate in the fighter jet coalition, to immediately enable the training of Ukrainian pilots on Eurofighters and to contribute a part of over 130 aircraft,” said Melnyk.