Ukraine has asked Germany for Leopard 2 tanks as part of a much larger weapons shipment from the NATO countries to counter the Russian invasion. Germany has not agreed. If it changes its mind, the decision carries a price tag. The Leopard 2s cost $11 million each. Germany would not charge Ukraine for these. Like all other aid packages to Ukraine from NATO, there is no expectation of compensation.
The Leopard 2 has been in service since 1979. Despite that, with upgrades, it is considered one of the most modern battle tanks in the world. Germany has sold them to 15 other countries. Some would like to send theirs to Ukraine, but, as a condition of sales, they are blocked from doing so. Poland has indicated it may ignore this agreement. It has 247.
Ukraine has asked for 300 Leopard 2 battle tanks. Most likely, it will get a fraction of that. Ukraine argues that a Russian offensive in the spring is likely. Its supply of tanks is low. Most of these it has are older Russian models, some of which are in disrepair.
Leopard 2 tanks have sophisticated weapons that can be used in rough terrain. According to The New York Times, “The tank, which is powered by a diesel engine, features night-vision equipment and a laser range finder that can measure distance to an object, enabling it to better aim at a moving target while traveling over rough terrain.”
In the scheme of things, the cost of the tanks Germany may give to Ukraine is relatively low. The $11 million per tank is a tiny fraction of its defense budget. It wants NATO partners to send more of their own weapons before it releases any Leopard 2s. If that is not settled, the cost to Germany will be zero. (These are the countries with the largest militaries.)
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