Germany agreeing to send tanks to Ukraine is a landmark moment - but will they be enough?

ITV News Correspondent John Ray writes from Ukraine, where the news Germany has agreed to send tanks to Kyiv - and allow other countries to export - has been greeted with relief

This feels like a landmark moment; for the war, for Ukraine and for Germany, which has had to overcome some deep seated and ugly historical echoes to supply tanks that will sweep east to engage Russian forces.

The apparent U-turn in the US, to agree to provide its advanced Abrams tank – a complex system unsuited to the conflict – provides Chancellor Olaf Scholtz with the political cover he needs.

The significance of all this to Kyiv is summed up in one word. ‘Hallelujah’, this country’s deputy foreign minister tweeted.

The German made Leopard II is the weapon they most covet.

Long-range, easy to maintain in the field, and it fires NATO standard ammunition.

So the questions now are how many tanks will be delivered and how quickly can they be deployed?

A soldier walks past a line of M1 Abrams tanks. Credit: Christian Murdock/The Gazette via AP, File

As President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said here in his regular overnight address: Ukraine could use more than five or 10 or 15.

In fact, they’ve calculated they need 300 – enough, they say, to break through Russian lines and to retake territory.

However, that kind of number looks out of reach. Military analysts believe 100 would make a difference to the fighting in the Donbas, where the Russian have been concentrating their forces for months.

Timing is crucial. The warmer weather is coming. Both sides plan spring offensives. The Russian have perhaps 150,000 fresh troops ready to deploy. What happens next could be decisive.

But is it the West’s strategy to merely stop Putin winning? Or does it want him defeated and defeated quickly? If so, are these tanks enough?

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