Ukraine’s President Volodymr Zelensky has made an explicit request to Germany for tanks ahead of crunch talks involving dozens of Western allies at the Ramstein air base in southern Germany.
The United States and Europe have already promised Kyiv more equipment to combat Russia’s invasion.
Berlin is under increasing pressure to allow the deployment of its Leopard 2 tanks.
“If you have Leopard [tanks], give them to us,” Mr Zelensky said on German public television.
“These leopards will not pass through Russia; we are defending ourselves,” he said, criticising the German government’s hesitant stance.
Defence officials from more than 50 countries are due to meet at Ramstein, a day after the US and several European nations pledged more equipment to help Ukraine fend off any further Russian offensives.
Almost 11 months after Russia launched its war against Ukraine, Nato military officials believe Moscow is planning a renewed spring offensive with troop numbers bolstered by a partial mobilisation since the end of September.
The UK also offered 14 of its battle tanks recently – but Kyiv wants more.