By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
BERLIN (Worthy News) – In a historic turnaround, Germany says it will deliver 15-anti aircraft “Gepard” tanks backed by trainers to Ukraine. It is a remarkable move for a nation still reeling from World War Two.
Included with the arms delivery will be training support by the German Armed Forces and the provision of nearly 60,000 rounds of ammunition, Germany’s DPA news agency reported.
The announcement followed Friday’s meeting between German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht and her Ukrainian counterpart Olexii Resnikov. Lambrecht told reporters that the Gepard is an “effective” weapon with a “considerable deterrent effect … for the protection of critical infrastructure.”
The Gepard (German for “cheetah”) is an anti-aircraft gun, or flak tank, armed with twin 35-mm guns that can be used against aircraft and helicopters at altitudes of up to 3,500 meters (11,500 feet).
“The tank would be especially useful for Ukrainian forces. It was designed to counter armored attack helicopters, such as the Soviet-Russian Mil Mi-24,” commented German broadcaster Deutsche Welle.
It is reportedly also effective against lightly armored ground targets such as infantry vehicles and transport tanks. But it would be vulnerable to battle tanks because of its relatively small caliber guns.
The Gepard was developed in 1976, and the last tank was decommissioned by the German military in 2012.
Sending the tanks with trainers marks another shift in policy by Germany, which had long been reluctant to use its military for missions citing its World War Two history. Pressured by Kyiv, Germany already sent or pledged various weapons systems to Ukraine.
They include the ‘Panzerhaubitze’ 2000, which can hit targets up to 40 kilometers away, and seven Howitzer 2000 artillery guns, which fire shells in rapid succession more than 30 kilometers. Other weapons include 500 Stinger portable anti-aircraft missiles, Panzerfaust anti-tank weapons, and small arms.
Ukraine pleaded with the West to deliver weapons like fast-moving tanks and long-range artillery to successfully counter the Russian military in the open terrain of eastern Ukraine.
Kyiv had criticized Germany for its perceived reluctance to deliver larger weapons systems.
If you are interested in articles produced by Worthy News, please check out our FREE sydication service available to churches or online Christian ministries. To find out more, visit Worthy Plugins.