Moscow has slammed Berlin’s move to supply Ukraine with battle tanks and accused Germany of abandoning its “historical responsibility to Russia” arising from Nazi crimes in World War II.

The Russian embassy in Germany said on Wednesday the decision to send 14 German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Kyiv

and allow allies to re-export the same models would worsen the war in Ukraine to a new level and lead to “permanent escalation”.

Kyiv has for months called for Western tanks, arguing they are desperately needed to give troops firepower and mobility to break through Russian defensive lines

Moscow has repeatedly said Western-supplied tanks will “burn” and dismissed suggestions they will affect the outcome of the 11-month conflict

Germany’s move is expected to pave the way for Poland, Finland and a host of other European nations to offer Ukraine tanks from their own stocks of Leopard 2s.

The United Kingdom has already pledged to deliver 14 of its Challenger 2 battle tanks to Kyiv, while the United States is poised to reverse course and supply Ukraine with more than 30 of its own