After Norway, the Czech Republic could also turn to the German Leopard 2A7+

Leopard2 trophy e1636042115229

During the psychodrama about the Ukrainian tanks, several press articles thought they saw, in the position of the United States which refused to transfer its M1A2 Abrams tanks to Kyiv, a maneuver by Washington to sell the American heavy tank to Europeans as a replacement solution. Leopard 2s urgently requested by Kyiv with strong support from Warsaw. Today, it appears that this maneuver was aimed above all at bringing the Ukrainian authorities back to more just positions in order to favor a defensive posture vis-à-vis a very likely massive Russian offensive to come, but also to open a channel of communication with Moscow for a way out of the crisis. If Moscow finally rejected the American option, and that the house Banche announced the sending of M1A2 Abrams within a few months in Ukraine, it also appears that if this was the strategy of Washington (which is very improbable), it is hardly crowned with success.

Indeed, after Oslo which announced this weekend an order for 54 Leopard 2A7+ to replace its Leopard 2A4, with an option on 18 additional tanks, it is the turn of the Czech Republic to express its interest in the latest evolution of the German tank. In effect, after delivering its T-72s to Ukraine last spring, Prague obtained from Berlin the sending of 14 Leopard 2A4 tanks as a transition solution, to maintain the operational capacity. The first Leopard 2A4 arrived in the Czech Republic a few months ago, and was immediately tested by the armies to assess its performance and capabilities. And obviously, the tests were conclusive, since Prague announced this week that it intends to order up to 50 Leopard 2A7+ heavy tanks from Krauss-Maffei Wegmann. According to the Czech Defense Minister, Jana Černochová, the delivery of Leopard 2A4s to the armies of his country, indeed paves the way for the arrival of the Leopard 2A7+ to operate within the 7th Armored Brigade.

T72M1 Czech Republic Ukraine
The Czech Republic sent its T-72M1s to Ukraine in April 2022, against Berlin's promise to deliver 15 Leopard 2A4s as a replacement and transition solution

The Czech decision to turn to the German tank is interesting in more ways than one. First, it shows that the widespread perception of Berlin's lasting and significant loss of influence in Europe, particularly on defense issues, is far from obvious. Clearly, neither Norway, a Scandinavian country, nor the Czech Republic, an Eastern European country, blames the German defense industry for Berlin's procrastination over the delivery of tanks to Ukraine, especially as, as we have repeatedly explained, the German position in this case was strictly identical to that applied by all the major European countries in this area since the beginning of the conflict. Besides, the surge against Olaf Scholz and Germany having followed the German waiting posture vis-à-vis a decision by Washington, was unaware of the very significant support given by Germany to the European countries which had delivered equipment to Kyiv to replace this equipment with second-hand equipment offered by Berlin. It is clear that for the Czech authorities, these aspects have been taken into consideration.

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