On Wednesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau did not commit to supplying Ukraine with any of the Canadian army’s Leopard battle tanks, despite Germany approving their exports from allied countries.
Faced with pleas from Ukraine, Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced on Wednesday that Berlin would not only give the green light to allied nations to send the German-made tanks, but would also send 14 of its own Leopard 2 main battle tanks to Kyiv.
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The Canadian Forces have approximately 112 Leopard 2s in various configurations, and the tanks were acquired from Germany in 2007 at the height of the war in Afghanistan.
Allied countries like Poland and Finland have said they will send Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, but Trudeau, who has yet to take a final position on the matter, continued to take that position when reporters told him. asked Hamilton.
“Canada has stepped up significantly and without hesitation to support the Ukrainian people and Ukraine itself in defending the sovereignty of its territorial integrity, the principles and values that underpin all our democracies against invasion. illegal and horrible from Russia,” he said.
“We will continue to be there to provide whatever support we can to Ukraine. I won’t be making an announcement today, but I can tell you that we are looking very, very closely at what more we can do to support Ukraine.
The Department of National Defense did not provide further details Wednesday morning, referring PKBNEWS to Trudeau’s remarks.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Wednesday he was “sincerely grateful” to Germany and Scholz for Berlin’s “important and timely” decision to supply battle tanks to Kyiv. The Globe and Mail reported last week that Ukraine intended to ask Canada for some of its Leopard 2 main battle tanks if Germany approved the re-export of the armament.
Germany has been accused of blocking the export of its Leopard 2 tanks out of fear that Moscow would view such a move as a further escalation of the conflict. Ukraine is seeking battle tanks from its allies as it seeks to push Russian forces further from its occupied territory.
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Washington and many Western allies said the Leopards were the only suitable option available in sufficient numbers for Ukraine. Despite this, the United States is about to send in dozens of its M1 Abrams main battle tanks, reversing its previous stance of withholding heavy equipment. The British government announced this month that it would send a squadron, or 14, of its Challenger 2 main battle tanks.
Russia criticized Germany for its decision, with its embassy in Germany saying Berlin was abandoning its “historical responsibility to Russia” stemming from Nazi crimes during World War II. The embassy said the decision would escalate the conflict to a new level.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Berlin’s decision confirmed what she called a “pre-planned war” against Moscow. The Kremlin said Abrams main battle tanks supplied to Ukraine by the United States would “burn up”, dismissing the proposed shipments as costly folly.
The number of Leopard tanks that Canada could send, if it decides to do so, is unclear at this time.
David Perry, president of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute, previously told PKBNEWS that Canada’s stock is in relatively good shape.
However, logistics will be a problem if the Canadian government goes ahead, he said last week.
“Obviously it’s a bit easier to put them on a train from Poland to western Ukraine than to fly them from here to Poland and then get them on the train,” said said Perry.
“You can only put one at a time on a single Canadian plane.”
Logistics is a problem that Washington could potentially face when sending its Abrams tanks. The Associated Press reported Tuesday that it was not immediately clear how soon the United States would begin training Ukrainian troops on the Abrams and roughly how soon they could get to the front lines.
Canada is among Western allies who have pledged billions in aid to Ukraine since Russia began its full-scale invasion on February 24, 2022.
The federal government has committed more than $1 billion in military aid to Ukraine and imposed far-reaching sanctions on Moscow.
According to the government, part of the military aid to Ukraine so far from Canada includes armored combat support vehicles, ammunition and M777 howitzers. More recently, Ottawa promised to provide an American-made air defense system at a cost of $406 million.
— with files from Reuters
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