(Hamilton) Canada did not announce on Wednesday that it will supply Ukraine with Leopard 2 heavy tanks, while Germany gave the green light to such arms transfers.
Asked about it Wednesday morning, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he had “no announcement to make” at this time.
After hesitating for a long time to grant the countries that had bought these German-made heavy tanks permission to transfer them elsewhere, Berlin announced on Wednesday that the German government would itself supply Ukraine with Leopard 2s.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz today announced his government’s decision, after weeks of hesitation, saying that Berlin will send 14 of its Leopard 2 tanks.
The objective is for Germany and its allies to supply Ukraine with 88 German-made Leopards, which would make it possible to form two battalions.
Berlin has indicated in the same breath that it would approve requests from other countries to transfer Leopard tanks purchased in Germany to Ukraine.
Berlin’s move comes after officials in Washington said a preliminary agreement had been reached for the United States to send in tanks too – “M1 Abrams”. By thus linking its gesture to that of the United States, Germany hopes to avoid a violent reaction from Moscow, which already speaks of “provocation”.
The Canadian Armed Forces has 112 Leopard 2 tanks, but analysts say Ottawa could only supply a small number to Ukraine if Canada is to maintain its own training and operational needs.
Retired Lieutenant-General and former Canadian Army Commander Jean-Marc Lanthier says Canada has a moral duty to help Ukraine, but any donation will have to be weighed against long-term impact on the armed forces.
Lanthier says only half of Canada’s Leopard 2s are operational at any given time, given maintenance requirements and other factors, and the fleet is split between different units across the country.
Trudeau said Wednesday morning that Ottawa’s decision on the matter had not yet been finalized. “But as you know very well, Canada is looking to do everything we can to help Ukraine, and we hope to have more to share in the coming days,” he said upon arriving at the meeting of the liberal cabinet, in anticipation of the return to parliament next Monday.
“Canada has always been there to support Ukraine with humanitarian aid, with financial aid, but also with significant armaments,” said Mr. Trudeau. We are here to continue to provide military aid to Ukraine, to the Ukrainians, because we must see Ukraine win in this conflict that Russia has illegally instigated there. »