Factbox-Tanks for Ukraine: who is lining up to send them?
(Reuters) -Germany has approved sending tanks to Ukraine, after Britain said it would send Challenger 2 tanks and Poland pushed for Berlin’s approval to send German-built Leopard 2 tanks.
Ukraine has until recently faced resistance to its requests for main battle tanks to fight against invading Russian forces.
Germany, which has been in talks with the United States and other allies, said the overall aim would be to supply Ukraine with two battalions of Leopard 2s.
A battalion typically comprises three or four companies, each with around 14 tanks, so that could mean sending a total of about 80 to 110 of the German-built tanks.
Germany said it would supply Leopard 2 battle tanks, a German-built vehicle with a 120 mm smooth bore gun that is one of the most widely used in the West. It said it would send an initial company of 14 tanks.
THE UNITED STATES:
U.S. officials say Washington is poised to send dozens of its M1 Abrams battle tank, reversing its previous position. The tank has a 120 mm smooth bore gun.
The British government announced in January it would send a squadron, or 14, of its Challenger 2 battle tanks, which has a 120 mm rifled gun.
Warsaw has said it is ready to send up to 14 of its Leopard 2 tanks and had submitted a request to Berlin for approval. Poland welcomed Germany’s move on Wednesday to approve re-exports from countries using the Leopard 2 tanks.
The Norwegian government is considering whether to send some of its Leopard tanks, newspapers reported.
Finland’s Defence Minister Mikko Savola said Finland would join the group of countries sending Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine but the contribution would be limited because Helsinki was not yet part of NATO and could not jeopardise its own defence.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said the Netherlands was prepared to deliver battle tanks to Ukraine if needed.
Spanish Defence Minister Margarita Robles said Spain was open to providing Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine.
The French government is considering sending its Leclerc tank, which has a 120 mm smooth bore gun, saying all options are on the table. It has previously resisted demands, saying French overseas missions limited the number available to send and the tank’s heavy-maintenance demands meant it was not ideal.
(Reporting by Reuters bureaus; Editing by Edmund Blair, Frank Jack Daniel and Louise Heavens)