If the U.K. gives Ukraine its Challengers, will German Leopards and U.S. Abrams follow?

January 10,2023 527
If the U.K. gives Ukraine its Challengers, will German Leopards and U.S. Abrams follow?

The United Kingdom is considering supplying Ukraine with Challenger 2 tanks to fight Russian forces, Sky News reported on Monday.

After a few weeks of discussions, no final decision has yet been made by the British government. If such a delivery really takes place, the United Kingdom will “become the first nation to respond to pleas from Ukrainian leaders to equip their military with powerful Western tanks,” according to the Sky News story.

Although the 10 tanks in question are just enough to equip only a squadron, there are hopes that the move could prompt other allies to do the same. “It would encourage others to give tanks,” a Ukrainian source told Sky News.

The source said a squadron of Challenger 2 tanks would not be a “game changer” but the move would be hugely significant as it could “breach a barrier that has so far prevented allies from offering up Western tanks to Ukraine for fear of being seen as overly escalatory by Russia.”

“It will be a good precedent to demonstrate [to] others – to Germany first of all, with their Leopards… and Abrams from the United States,” the Ukrainian source said.

Indeed, the delivery of British tanks to Ukraine, if it happens, might turn helpful in breaching the barrier. On Monday, Germany’s Chancellor Olaf Scholz said he remained convinced of the need to coordinate weapons deliveries to Ukraine with allies as pressure mounts on Berlin to send Kyiv its Leopard 2 battle tanks, according to Reuters.

“Germany will not go alone,” he said at an event of his Social Democrat party. “Germany will always remain united with its friends and allies … Anything else would be irresponsible in such a dangerous situation.”