NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg welcomed on Wednesday Germany's decision to supply Ukraine with Leopard 2 tanks, saying that it could help it to "victory", while Russia said that providing Ukraine with German tanks is part of a pre-plan to wage war on it.
"At a critical moment in the war waged by Russia, tanks can help Ukraine defend itself and win as an independent state," Stoltenberg said in a tweet.
For his part, President Volodymyr Zelensky expressed to Germany his "gratitude" after Berlin's decision to hand over Leopard tanks to Kyiv, and said in a conversation with German Chancellor Olaf Schultz today, Wednesday, that he was "sincerely grateful" for the green light given by Berlin to give his country Leopard tanks.
And German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius confirmed on Wednesday that it is possible for the first batch of Leopard combat tanks to arrive in Ukraine within about three months.
He made it clear after a session of the Defense Committee in the German parliament that he would now start training and clarify supply routes very quickly.
Pistorius - who belongs to Chancellor Schultz's Social Democratic Party - described his country's government's decision to supply Leopard tanks to Ukraine as "historic" because it was coordinated "in a very explosive situation in Ukraine."
The Minister of Defense said that this "is not a cause for celebration," noting that he has great understanding for those who are concerned about this step, "but what is clear is that we will not be a party to the war, we are working on this."
Germany had announced its intention to supply 14 Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine as a first step to support Kyiv in its war against Russia, according to German government spokesman Steffen Hepstreit announced earlier today, indicating that Ukrainian forces will soon be trained in Germany, in addition to providing them with logistical materials and ammunition. .
Hepstreit explained that the goal is to assemble two armored battalions with Leopard 2 tanks, and since the main German armored battalion usually includes 44 Leopard 2 tanks, this means that it is about supplying a total of about 90 tanks to Ukraine.
For his part, German Chancellor Olaf Schultz stressed that Germany will always remain at the forefront of countries supporting Ukraine, and said that they should work closely with their Western allies to deliver the necessary military equipment to Kyiv.
He added that Germany has provided Ukraine with tanks and defensive systems, and will provide it with Patriot systems to defend itself, indicating that the decision to provide it with armored vehicles was made in coordination with France.
In turn, Britain welcomed Germany's decision, and the British Minister of Defense said, "We welcome Germany joining Britain, France and Poland in providing Ukraine with tanks," stressing that "the time has come for Russia to realize that the international community is increasingly determined to support Ukraine."
The British Prime Minister also considered that sending Leppard tanks to Ukraine is a correct decision by NATO allies and will enhance Kyiv's defense capabilities.
The Polish Prime Minister welcomed Germany's decision to send Leopard tanks to Ukraine and considered it "a big step towards stopping Russia."
As for the French presidency, it said, "Germany's decision to send Leppard tanks to Ukraine reinforces our plans to send tanks to Kyiv."
While the Secretary-General of NATO confirmed that Germany's decision to provide Kyiv with Leppard tanks would help it defend itself and win.
American support and the "Great Tank Alliance"
In a related context, Reuters quoted two sources in the United States that Washington will announce later today, Wednesday, its intention to provide dozens of its M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine.
US President Joe Biden is expected to deliver a speech today, Wednesday, related to his country's support for Ukraine, the White House announced, amid expectations that Washington will announce the delivery of Abrams tanks to Kyiv in the future.
The White House did not announce details of this scheduled speech at 12:00 (17:00 GMT), except to say that Biden "will make statements about continued support for Ukraine."
CNN has quoted informed sources that the US administration is in the process of putting the final touches on a plan to send about 30 Abrams tanks to Ukraine.
It is noteworthy that, in addition to Germany and the United States, Britain, Poland, Norway, Finland, the Netherlands, France and Spain also announced similar plans to send tanks to Kyiv.
In this regard, the Finnish Defense Minister announced today that his country plans to send tanks to Ukraine, and the Dutch Prime Minister said that Amsterdam is also preparing to supply Ukraine with tanks.
The Ukrainian reaction came, welcoming what the Kyiv ambassador in Berlin called the Great Tank Pact, as the Ukrainian President stressed the importance of these tanks in confronting Russia, which is preparing for a new wave of aggression, as he put it.
For its part, the Russian Foreign Ministry criticized the provision of German tanks to Ukraine and said that this matter is part of a pre-planned war against Russia.
The Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said that the United States is dragging Europe into a major war.
For his part, Russia's ambassador to Berlin, Sergei Nechaev, said today, Wednesday, that "Berlin's decision to supply Leopard tanks to Kyiv is very dangerous, because it will raise the conflict to a new level of confrontation."
The Russian ambassador added that the decision contradicts German politicians' declarations of their unwillingness to be drawn into the conflict, and he believed that Berlin and its Western partners "are not interested in a diplomatic solution to the Ukrainian crisis, but are counting on escalation."
Nechaev pointed out that the German tanks will be sent again to the "Eastern Front", which does not only mean the death of Russian soldiers, but also the death of the civilian population.
In turn, Russia's ambassador to Washington, Anatoly Antonov, said that the supply of American combat tanks would be "a new blatant provocation."
Meanwhile, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that any American tank sent to Ukraine "will burn like other tanks."
Moscow says that supplying Ukraine with modern offensive weapons would prolong the war and delay what it describes as its inevitable victory.