After weeks of hesitation, Germany agreed on Wednesday to send its Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine. Kiev hopes they will turn the tide of the war against Russia. Sending these tanks to Ukraine is important as it will provide the Ukrainian forces with a very modern and powerful military tool, at a time when, with the arrival of spring, a new Russian offensive is expected.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, while announcing the decision to send 14 such tanks, also said that he would allow other countries to do the same.
The Leopard 2 is Germany's third-generation main battle tank. Developed by Krauss-Maffei in the 1970s, the first tank entered service in 1979 and replaced the previous Leopard 1 as the main tank of the German Army.
They have been used in the war in Afghanistan, as well as in the civil war in Syria.
The German army has 320 Leopard 2 tanks, but has not disclosed how many of them are ready for battlefield use. This was stated for CNN by a spokesman of the German Ministry of Defense, who also said that Germany would allow their export from other countries.
From what is known, at least 8 Leopard 2 tanks have been destroyed to date.
The Leopard 2 tank is widely considered to be among the best of its kind in the world. They are currently used by 19 countries in the world. A combination of speed and accuracy, the Leopard is capable of hitting a target at a distance of 5 kilometers while on the move.
This battle tank of about 60 tons is equipped with a 120-millimeter cannon, which allows it to fight the enemy on the move, thanks to its power of 1,500 horsepower, up to 70 km/h, with a distance of 450 kilometers.
It is also equipped, according to the manufacturer, with effective integral passive protection against mines and missiles.
Its crew of four also benefits from technological means to locate and target the enemy at long range.
Another big advantage is that the "Leopard" is spread across the continent, thus facilitating access to ammunition and spare parts and simplifying maintenance, which is demanding for this type of equipment.
If Kiev could get 100 such tanks, the effect would be significant on the battlefield against the Russians, IISS estimates.
Equipped with "Leopard 2", an army can break enemy lines and end a long trench war, writes "Bild".
"With the Leopard, soldiers can advance several tens of kilometers at a time," the newspaper points out.