© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Dozens of German-made Leopard 1 tanks and different armoured automobiles, owned by Freddy Versluys the CEO of Belgian defence firm OIP Land Techniques, who stated might assist Ukraine if he obtained export permits from the Belgian regional authorities of
BERLIN (Reuters) -Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands will pool funds to revive at the very least 100 previous Leopard 1 tanks from business shares and provide them to Ukraine, in line with a joint assertion revealed on Tuesday.
German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius, on a shock go to to Kyiv, stated between 20 and 25 of the tanks would arrive by summer season, about 80 by the top of the 12 months and one other 100 in 2024, in line with a press release by Ukrainian Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov’s workplace after the counterparts met.
In Washington, Robert Habeck, Germany’s vice chancellor, stated that whereas Ukraine ought to have a double-digit variety of German-made Leopard 1 tanks at its disposal within the first quarter, it was unclear how lots of the 178 tanks his nation had licensed would finally be despatched.
“The numbers are there however they should be refurbished for battle, re-equipped, so we do not know precisely what number of,” he advised reporters after assembly U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and Nationwide Safety Adviser Jake Sullivan. “However it’s a big quantity to repel Russia’s spring offensive.”
Requested whether or not the choice to ship them, after months of mounting strain on Berlin, ought to have been taken earlier, Habeck stated: “I hope the choice was taken at simply the proper time.”
The joint assertion in regards to the plans by Denmark, Germany and The Netherlands stated Ukraine would obtain at the very least 100 of the Leopard 1 A5 tanks in coming months in addition to coaching, logistical help, spare components and an ammunition package deal.
Dutch Defence Minister Kasja Ollongren stated the Leopard 1 was “positively nonetheless appropriate” for fight use regardless of being an older mannequin.
“It is actually a examined tank,” she stated on Dutch nationwide broadcaster NOS. “They’re being fastened up and made battle-ready, so they’ll positively be helpful for the Ukrainians, and likewise higher than quite a lot of Russian tanks.”
Particulars of the deal nonetheless should be labored out with the businesses that personal the tanks, in line with the assertion.
It was additionally not instantly clear whether or not there can be cost-sharing with the businesses. There are some 180 Leopard 1 tanks in Germany owned by arms maker Rheinmetall and an organization in northern Germany.
Standing beside Reznikov in Kyiv, Pistorius famous he had earlier seen off Ukrainian forces departing for coaching in Germany on the extra fashionable Leopard 2 tanks his nation has additionally promised Ukraine.
Reznikov tweeted an image of himself and Pistorius posing with a scale mannequin Leopard in a show case, writing: “The ‘first’ Leopard 2 has arrived in Kyiv.” The German defence ministry later tweeted that the precise Leopard 2s can be accessible on the finish of March.
Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands stated their Leopard 1 initiative was open to additional companions, including Belgium had proven “preliminary curiosity to take part”.
Earlier, the top of German arms maker Rheinmetall stated it could ship Ukraine 20-25 Leopards this 12 months, with the remainder of the 88 Leopard 1 tanks it owns in whole to be despatched subsequent 12 months.
The transfer follows the German authorities’s determination final month, amid mounting worldwide strain, to ship extra fashionable Leopard 2 battle tanks from military shares.