Finland Keeps Tanks for Russian Border Instead of Giving Them to Ukraine, President Says

Finland could donate a small number of German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine if a wider group of European nations also decided to do so, Finnish President, Sauli Niinisto, said. 

Kiev has requested heavy military vehicles such as the Leopard 2, which would represent a significant step-up in Western support after the start of the Russia’s military operation in Ukraine.

Finland, which has applied for NATO membership, could only share a limited number of tanks as the country’s arms are needed to guard its long border with Russia, the president claimed.

Poland has said it would send Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine if there was a larger coalition of countries doing so, while Germany has said it has no plans to send any, and it has not received any request for approval of sending its tanks from neither of the two countries.

“If the position would change for the part of the battle tanks and a joint European cooperation would form, Finland’s contribution is also needed,” the president’s office said in an emailed statement to Reuters on Friday.

Before that, Germany explained the refusal to provide Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, Lenta. The representative of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic, Steffen Hebestreit, said it was necessary to avoid a scenario in which NATO member countries could be involved in a military conflict.

Ru-Main, 13.01.2023
Source: Reuters

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