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BERLIN: Germany will supply its Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, it announced on Wednesday (Jan 25), overcoming misgivings about sending heavy weaponry that Kyiv sees as crucial to defeat the Russian invasion but Moscow cast as a needless provocation.

Pressure has been building for weeks on German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s government to send the tanks and allow other NATO allies to do the same ahead of expected spring offensives by both sides that could help turn the tide of the war.

Scholz’s government had stalled on the decision, wary of moves that could prompt Russia to escalate or suck the NATO alliance into becoming party to the conflict.

Germany’s decision paves the way for other countries such as Poland, Spain and Norway to supply their stocks of Leopard tanks to Ukraine.

“This decision follows our well-known line of supporting Ukraine to the best of our ability. We are acting in a closely coordinated manner internationally,” Scholz said in a statement.