Germany will not act alone sending tanks as Scholz warns of 'escalating' war

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Tuesday that his country would never act “alone” in terms of sending tanks to Ukraine. Mr Scholtz said that Berlin’s military support for Kyiv would only be increased if it could avoid “escalating” the war in Ukraine.

This is something that some German officials fear could happen if they send the Leopard II tanks to Ukraine.

Mr Scholtz is under increasing pressure from his NATO allies to approve the delivery of the tanks particularly from Poland and Lithuania that need his permission to send the tanks from their own fleet.

It comes after economy minister Robert Habeck said that Germany was only likely to approve export declarations for the Leopards only if the US sent its own Abrams tanks to Ukraine first.

There are around 2,000 of the Leopard tanks in the armies of a dozen NATO states.

Some countries are hoping to donate as many as 90 as part of an international effort to increase support for Ukraine.

However all of these countries first need permission from Berlin through export declarations for every vehicle before they can send the tanks from their own fleets.

Responding to a question about his reluctance to send the tanks the Social Democratic Chancellor said that he want to avoid “escalating” the conflict so it became a “a war between Russia and Nato”.

Mr Scholtz added that Berlin had already promised to send Marder infantry fighting vehicles after a deal with Washington to send similar hardware.

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“If America will decide that they will bring battle tanks to Ukraine, that will make it easier for Germany.

“You know our history, and we are a little bit more reluctant there for understandable reasons.”

However officials in Washington have warned that they are unlikely to send Abrams tanks to Ukraine as they are difficult to operate and maintain.