By Bahattin Gonultas
BERLIN (AA) – The German government has approved the delivery of Leopard 1 tanks from its industrial stockpiles to Ukraine.
Citing government sources, Sueddeutsche Zeitung daily reported on Friday once the tanks undergo maintenance/repairs, the delivery could happen at any time.
German arms manufacturer Rheinmetall and Flensburger Fahrzeugbau Gesellschaft (FFG) are willing to mend dozens of Leopards 1 tanks, and could provide them to Kyiv if it wants to purchase them.
The newspaper also said the German government has been in talks with Qatar on the possible purchase of 15 Gepard tanks that would be sent to Ukraine.
Doha had bought these tanks to secure the World Cup stadiums at the competition late last year.
On the new developments, German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius reportedly said these tanks would be beneficial for Ukrainians in the fight against Russia.
Germany’s green light last week to send the German tanks was a dramatic development, and a step Berlin had long resisted.
Earlier this week, the Polish defense minister questioned Berlin's commitment to helping Kyiv fight Russia, saying he is “not certain if Germany wants Ukraine to win the conflict.”
Asked if Germans really want Ukraine to win the war that broke out last February, Mariusz Blaszczak said: “This is a question I always ask when talking to German officials.”
He told Polish Radio 1 that Germany should provide more battle tanks to Ukraine and that Warsaw would continue applying pressure on Berlin to do so.