Since the onset of the Russian-Ukraine crisis on 24 February, Qatar has held various phone calls with leaders of both countries.
The German government has given the green light for the delivery of Leopard 1 tanks from industrial inventories to Ukraine and is in negotiations to repurchase 15 Gepard tanks from Qatar for sale to Kiev.
Once the Leopard tanks have been rebuilt, delivery to Ukraine could take place at any time, Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported on Friday, citing government sources.
If Kiev is interested in purchasing them, many Leopard 1 tanks may be supplied to Ukraine by German company Rheinmetall and Flensburger Fahrzeugbau Gesellschaft (FFG).
The newspaper reported that many German officials spoke with Qatar’s foreign ministry about possibly purchasing 15 Gepard tanks that Doha had bought to protect World Cup stadiums under the federal government by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s approval, and that Berlin was also attempting to obtain additional ammunition from Qatar.
Krauss-Maffei Wegmann created the Gepard in West Germany to accompany Leopard tanks into battle and defend them from aerial assaults, reports said. The Gepard is equipped with two 35 mm auto-cannons, each of which has a maximum rate of fire of 550 rounds per minute.
“The Gepards have proven themselves very well in the war in Ukraine. If we could get more from partners here, that would definitely help the Ukrainians,” new German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius was quoted as saying by the newspaper.
The vintage drone, however, has been at the top of the Ukrainian military’s wish list ever since Russia allegedly began making extensive use of “Iranian drones”, the report said. It is regarded as one of the best weapons that Germany has ever sent, it added.
Tehran acknowledged for the first time in early November that it had provided drones to Moscow, but asserted that they had been delivered prior to the conflict in Ukraine, where Russia has been using them to target power plants and other civilian infrastructure, Reuters reported.
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said a “small number” of drones had been sent a few months before Russia launched its 24 February invasion.
The looming predicament in Ukraine seems to be the lack of of ammunition.
Ukraine, the German newspaper said, is working with the 60,000 bullets that came from Germany. According to information gathered by the Süddeutsche Zeitung, a good 30,000 of these have been used already.
The Qatari government is yet to make an official statement regarding Germany’s request. However Doha’s stance has been quite clear since the launch of the invasion.
“First of all, politically speaking, when we are talking about the situation and the war, Qatar has a very clear political stance on this: we don’t accept the invasion of another country,” Qatar’s foreign minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said to CNBC in January.
“We don’t accept threatening by force or the use of force, we don’t accept civilians to be hurt. And we have been demonstrating this throughout our votes within the United Nations,” the top diplomat said to CNBC’s Hadley Gamble.
“Our message to the Russians, to the Ukrainian has been always … these kinds of differences and disagreements shouldn’t be resolved in a battlefield, they should be resolved through dialogue,” Sheikh Mohammed underlined.
The Gulf country has placed great emphasis on the “necessity of respecting Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders and pursuing dialogue as a way to resolve the crisis.”