Germany will send 14 Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine and has authorised partner countries to also send them.
It means other countries – such as Poland, Spain and Norway – which have stocks of the NATO-standard tank can now donate them to Kyiv.
Kyiv has been pleading for months for Western nations to send tanks to give its forces the firepower and mobility it hopes will be able to break through Russian defensive lines and recapture territory occupied by Russia.
Although Ukraine has stocks of Soviet-made tanks, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says his forces need more, faster and deadlier weapons – in particular Western tanks – to push the Russians back.
There had been a sense of frustration among some of Germany’s allies about the delay in authorising the Leopards to go to Ukraine.
The German decision comes after the UK announced it would provide 14 Challenger 2 tanks, which was widely seen as an attempt to persuade other allies to send Leopards, of which there are much higher stocks across Europe.
Sky News understands that American officials will soon announce their intention to send Abrams tanks to help Kyiv fight off Russia’s invasion.
First introduced in 1979, the Leopard 2 offers good protection against armour-piercing rounds and anti-tank guided weapons.