US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin reiterated the German position that there has been no decision made on sending Leopard tanks to Ukraine.
"You may have heard the German minister of defense say earlier that they've not made a decision on the provision of Leopard tanks," he said in response to a reporter's question.
"We're really focused on — is making sure that Ukraine has the capability that it needs to be successful right now. So we have a window of opportunity here between now and the spring ... whenever they commence their operation, their counteroffensive. And that's not a long time. We have to pull together the right capabilities," he continued.
Austin referred back to his statements about Western allies sending defense weapons to Ukraine, as well as the United Kingdom's plans to provide battle tanks.
"Poland for example is continuing to offer tanks and will provide tanks, and other countries will offer some tank capability as well. I don't have any announcements to make on [M1 Abrams tanks], and you heard the German minister of defense say that they've not made a decision on Leopards," he said.
Some background: German and US officials appear to be stuck in a deadlock over whether to send tanks following numerous appeals from Kyiv’s leadership. CNN has reported that in recent days, German officials have indicated they won’t send their Leopard tanks to Ukraine, or allow any other country with the German-made tanks in their inventory to do so, unless the US also agrees to send its M1 Abrams tanks to Kyiv – something the Pentagon has said for months it has no intention of doing given the logistical costs of maintaining them.