The German government has approved the delivery of a total of 178 Leopard 1 tanks to Ukraine. This is stated in a joint statement of the Ministry of Economics and the Ministry of Defense of Germany.
According to the portal of the information program Tagessschau of the nationwide TV channel ARD, the first two dozen combat vehicles should be ready for shipment by the summer. The ultimate goal is to deliver more than 100 tanks to Kyiv in the first or second quarter of 2024.
How many tanks will actually be delivered and when depends on their condition and “necessary repairs”. Now the tanks are in defense industry enterprises or in large warehouses.
According to Spiegel, the administration of the German chancellor has been preparing a deal for the supply of Leopard 1 for a long time. The newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung also reported that the German defense company will repair 90 combat vehicles of this type, which have been in its warehouses for several years.
Another 88 Leopard 1 tanks will be brought from Italy. The defense concern Rheinmetall already a few months ago received the opportunity to purchase old vehicles stored there. The cost of repairing tanks will be borne by the German government. Financial resources will be allocated from the aid package for the Ukrainian army.
German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius arrived in Kyiv today. He confirmed information about future deliveries of Leopard 1 and specified that Ukraine would receive these tanks from a number of European countries.
The Bundeswehr finally stopped using the Leopard 1 in 2003 and replaced them with the new Leopard 2 model. This type of vehicle is faster and much better armored.
About two weeks ago, Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced Germany’s readiness to supply Ukraine with 14 modern tanks of the Leopard 2 type from the stocks of the Bundeswehr. They should be handed over to the Ukrainian army at the end of March.
Berlin is trying to convince other European countries and other NATO partners to equip at least two battalions with Leopard 2 tanks. The chancellor, according to Spiegel, personally held telephone conversations with the leaders of European countries, but so far no agreement has been received from any country.
The German government is also trying to stockpile enough ammunition for Leopard 2. Representatives of defense enterprises report that only 25,000 pieces of ammunition are ready for shipment. The production of 105 mm caliber shells can already be launched, but their delivery can begin only in a few months.
According to the Süddeutsche Zeitung, the transportation of multi-ton combat vehicles by rail is also a problem. Germany will have to check the condition of the railway track and bridges along the entire route.
- Kyiv has repeatedly appealed to the German government with a request for the supply of Leopards. In recent months, the Ukrainian side has been talking about the need to have at least 300 modern vehicles of the Leopard 2 type.
- In January, Germany, after long hesitation, approved the delivery of its Leopard 2 main battle tanks to Ukraine, both directly from the stocks of the Bundeswehr and from the EU countries that previously purchased these tanks.
- Kyiv and Berlin declared that tanks would not be used on the territory of Russia within its officially recognized borders by the world community. The equipment will be used only to liberate the territory of Ukraine.
- Russian Ambassador to Germany Sergei Nechaev called Berlin’s decision on tanks “extremely dangerous.” “The decision takes the conflict to a new level of confrontation and contradicts the statements of German politicians about the unwillingness of the FRG to get involved in it,” Nechaev said. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the supply of Leopards does not bode well for future relations between Berlin and Moscow.
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