178 Older Leopard Tanks Headed to Ukraine – As Ukraine awaits the arrival of all Leopard 2 tanks pledged by its European allies over the last few weeks, the German government announced on Tuesday that a coalition of European nations is preparing to send almost 200 older generation Leopard 1 tanks to the country.
In a joint statement, the governments of Germany, Netherlands, and Denmark announced that at least 100 refurbished Leopard 1 battle tanks will be headed to Ukraine, and that the number could ultimately reach 178 – the number of licenses issued to arms companies for the purposes of exporting the tanks.
The statement said that the number of tanks that will be delivered will depend entirely on how much maintenance work is required to ensure that the tanks are fully operational and safe to use.
The joint statement also revealed that other countries are welcome to take part in the initiative, and that Belgium has already expressed some interest in taking part.
“We reaffirm our continued determination to support Ukraine in their endeavor to withstand Russian aggression,” the statement reads.
“Together, in a joint initiative, we will significantly enhance Ukraine’s military potential for the restoration of their violated territorial integrity.”
Here Comes the Leopard 1 Tanks
The tanks are expected to arrive in Ukraine “within the coming months,” and will arrive with ammunition.
Efforts are also underway to prepare Ukrainian soldiers for their arrival, ensuring that they are capable of operating the tanks.
The announcement also came as German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius made a surprise visit to Ukraine to meet President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
German arms manufacturer Rheinmetall is expected to take part in the scheme, with 88 tanks being taken out of the company’s storage facilities.
According to a report by Der Spiegel, the arms manufacturer has begun working on making the tanks battle ready, though the company has not responded to requests for comment.
First Leopard 2 Arrives In Ukraine
Also on Tuesday, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov confirmed the arrival of the first Leopard 2 tank in Kyiv.
Writing on Twitter, Reznikov insisted that more were on their way and expressed thanks to the German government and people for approving the delivery of the weapons.
“Leopard 2 has arrived in Kyiv. There will be more of them,” Reznikov wrote. “Thank you to @Bundeskanzler my colleague Boris Pistorius and the German people. The tank coalition is marching… to victory!”
The German defense minister also confirmed this week that 14 Leopard 2 tanks are expected to arrive in Ukraine by the spring.
“I can confirm the commitment of Germany that our 14 Leopard 2A6 will be delivered by the end of March,” Pistorius told German newspaper Bild.
Jack Buckby is 19FortyFive’s Breaking News Editor. He is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.