Germany’s Defense Minister Boris Pistorius has denied that the country’s decision to potentially send Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine is tied to whether the United States makes a similar move and sends M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine.
When asked about the issue during an interview with German public broadcaster ARD Thursday, Pistorius said he was “not aware of such an arrangement.”
According to Pistorius, no decision has been made as to whether Germany will send Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine.
The defense minister told reporters on the sidelines of a high stakes defense meeting at Ramstein Airbase on Friday that “we all cannot say today when a decision will be made and what that decision will be on Leopard tanks.”
Some background: German and US officials have been stuck in a deadlock over whether to send tanks following numerous appeals from Kyiv’s leadership. CNN reported Friday that German officials indicated they won’t send their Leopard tanks to Ukraine or give permission to any other country with the German-made tanks in their inventory to do so, unless the US also agrees to send its M1 Abrams tanks to Kyiv.
“If America will decide that they will bring battle tanks to Ukraine, that will make it easier for Germany,” German Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck told Bloomberg from Davos on Tuesday.
“They have us over a barrel,” a senior Biden administration official told CNN Thursday, adding that the Germans are demanding tanks for tanks, and not budging on considering any other offers the US has made to spur Berlin to send the Leopards.
However, German government spokesperson Steffen Hebestreit denied these claims Friday. “It’s hard for me to imagine a German chancellor dictating any conditions to an American president or making any demands.”
The spokesperson added that Germany deems it “important” that Ukraine’s allies “act in a very unified and joint manner,” especially when it comes to the delivery of battle tanks.
With previous reporting from CNN’s Natasha Bertrand, Kylie Atwood and Oren Liebermann