At least 100 Leopard 1 tanks will soon be delivered to Ukraine
Ukraine will receive “in the coming months” at least 100 Leopard 1 A5 tanks, former models of armored combat vehicles, the defense ministers of Germany, the countries – Netherlands and Denmark.
These tanks, of German manufacture, will be “refurbished from industrial stocks”, explain the three countries, in a joint press release.
This announcement comes at a time when the German Minister of Defense, Boris Pistorius, makes a surprise visit to Kyiv.
In addition to the delivery of Leopard 1s, Berlin, Copenhagen and The Hague promise training for Ukrainian soldiers in the handling of these tanks, as well as the supply of parts spare parts and ammunition.
The three countries indicate that their initiative is “open to other partners”. They thus mention Belgium, which has “indicated an interest in participating”.
This promise to deliver Leopard 1 was made possible by the green light from Berlin to German industrialists to give Ukraine the tanks they still have in stock. A total of 178 Leopards are potentially concerned, but the number of armored vehicles that can actually be delivered depends on the duration of their rehabilitation, as they have been out of service for several years.
The Leopard 1s are the predecessors of the Leopard 2, of which Berlin agreed at the end of January to supply 14 units from the equipment of the German army, the Bundeswehr.
Ukraine urges Western countries to accelerate the dispatch of these heavy tanks likely to help repel a Russian offensive. Germany's Leopard 2s are due to arrive in late March, early April.
In an interview made in Kyiv on German television Welt-TV, Mr. Pistorius put pressure on the other allies who promised Kyiv Leopard 2s, so that they keep their commitment.
“ Help from Germany arrived relatively quickly. We now expect the Leopard 2A4s that have been promised by partners and allies. Everything suggests that it will happen in time and we fervently hope so,” he said. to be provided and the date on which these armored vehicles could be operational.
Poland has promised to deliver 14 Leopard 2A4s, Canada 4 Leopard 2s, while Finland, Sweden and Norway, which all have Leopard 2s, have indicated that they want to contribute to the effort, as have Spain and Portugal.
Mr. Pistorius, who met Ukrainian soldiers during his visit to Kyiv, said he was “particularly impressed” by them, “who are now leaving for Germany to be trained in the handling of Leopard 2s for a few weeks