German caution on Ukraine arms rooted in political culture

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz speaks to soldiers in front of a Leopard 2 main battle tank after the Army's training and instruction exercise in Ostenholz, Germany, on Oct. 17, 2022. Germany has become one of Ukraine's leading weapons suppliers in the 11 months since Russia's invasion. The debate among allies about the merits of sending battle tanks to Ukraine has focused the spotlight relentlessly on Germany, whose Leopard 2 tank is used by many other countries and has long been sought by Kyiv.

BERLIN — Germany has become one of Ukraine's leading weapons suppliers in the 11 months since Russia's invasion, but Chancellor Olaf Scholz also has gained a reputation for hesitating to take each new step — generating impatience among allies.

Berlin’s perceived foot-dragging, most recently on the Leopard 2 battle tanks that Kyiv has long sought, is rooted at least partly in a post-World War II political culture of military caution, along with present-day worries about a possible escalation in the war.

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