Finland sends three additional Leopard minesweeper tanks

Finland sends three additional Leopard minesweeper tanks


Finnish Defense Minister Antti Kaikkonen on Thursday announced the shipment of three Leopard 2 mine-clearing tanks to Ukraine, in addition to the three previously sent.

“Finland is delivering three Leopard 2 armored mine-clearing vehicles,” Minister Kaikkonen told reporters in Helsinki.

The tanks, equipped with machine guns instead of the usual cannon, are designed to neutralize mines and other explosive devices.

In February, Finland announced that it was sending three mine-clearing Leopard battle tanks to Ukraine.

Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin said recently that she was also open to discussing the supply of Finnish F/A-18 Hornet fighter jets to Ukraine, in response to calls of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for modern combat aircraft from Western allies.

Finland is to replace its Hornets with more advanced F-35As from the American Lockheed Martin from 2025.

Mr. Kaikkonen explained Thursday that Ukraine had “requested discussions on the F/A-18 Hornets, to see if they could be made available to Ukraine”.

But he clarified that it was not an “imperative topic of discussion. We will need these Hornets in the next few years for our own purposes.”

Several other countries, including Norway, Poland, Germany, Sweden, Spain and Canada, have also delivered or pledged German-made Leopard tanks to Ukraine.

Berlin had initially resisted Allied pressure to allow deliveries to the Ukraine, fearing it would be seen as a co-belligerent by Moscow.

But he relented in January, saying he would send 14 Leopard tanks to assemble, with allies, two tank battalions for Ukraine.