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New German defence minister expects decision on Leopard tanks shortly

Newly appointed German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius said on Tuesday that he is expecting a decision imminently on the delivery of Leopard battle tanks to Ukraine.

Brussels, 24 January 2023 (dpa/MIA) – Newly appointed German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius said on Tuesday that he is expecting a decision imminently on the delivery of Leopard battle tanks to Ukraine.

“I expect a decision to be made shortly,” the minister said in Berlin at a meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

Issues such as the maintenance, repair and resupply of weapon systems were being examined in the case of possible deployment, said Pistorius. “We are preparing for all of this now. And in the event of a positive decision, we will then be able to act very quickly,” he said.

He encouraged partner countries that have operational Leopard tanks to already start training Ukrainian forces on using these tanks.

Pistorius said: “Where this is possible and desired, there is no question at all, we are not standing in the way. But we ourselves, of course, can only do that once our decision on how to deal with the Leopard tanks has been made.”

He reminded people that Germany was still one of the largest contributors of aid to Ukraine.

Stoltenberg also called for the speedy delivery of new weapons to Ukraine at the meeting, saying: “We need to provide Ukraine with heavier and more advanced systems” seeing as, he said, Russia’s leader shows no sign of changing his objectives.

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