After weeks of mounting pressure both at home and abroad, Chancellor Olaf Scholz confirmed in the German Bundestag on Wednesday that Berlin will provide Ukraine with Leopard 2 battle tanks.
He also defended his cautious approach to the decision, saying it was important to negotiate delivery details with partners.
The goal is for Germany and its allies to provide Ukraine with 88 of the German-made Leopards, the equivalent of two battalions.
Scholz also reiterated the scope of assistance Berlin will offer Ukraine.
"We will provide training, logistics, munitions, and maintenance of the systems, and as mentioned, enable partner countries to be able to deliver," he said.
The announcement was warmly welcomed in Kyiv, with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy expressing his gratitude to Germany.
In a Tweet, he described the decision to supply the tanks, support, and training, and allow partners to supply similar weapons as 'an important and timely decision’.
The Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki also thanked Germany in a Tweet saying the decision was a big step towards stopping Russia.
Warsaw had been considering delivering its German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine without Germany’s permission.
Russia was quick to react to the news with the presidential spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, describing it as "a profound fallacy" that the Western tanks would have a big impact on the war.
"These tanks will burn down," he said, "just like all the other ones".
Moscow’s ambassador to Germany has accused Berlin of abdicating its historical responsibility for World War II, adding the move "shifts the conflict to a new level of confrontation".
And Russian President Vladimir Putin has questioned whether Germany was still a sovereign country.