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Germany, Denmark, Netherlands to give Kyiv 100 tanks

At least 100 old Leopard 1 tanks are being fixed up and made battle-ready by Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands to be aid the war effort in Ukraine.

February 8, 2023
8 February 2023

Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands will pool funds to restore at least 100 old Leopard 1 tanks from industry stocks and supply them to Ukraine, according to a joint statement.

The countries said Ukraine would receive within the coming months at least 100 Leopard 1 A5 tanks as well as training, logistical support, spare parts and an ammunition package.

Dutch Defence Minister Kasja Ollongren said the Leopard 1 was “definitely still suitable” for combat use despite being an older model.

“It’s really a tested tank,” she said on Dutch national broadcaster NOS. “They’re being fixed up and made battle-ready, so they will definitely be useful for the Ukrainians, and also better than a number of Russian tanks.”

Details of the deal still need to be worked out with the companies that own the tanks, according to the statement published on Tuesday.

The exact number of tanks and whether there would be cost-sharing with the companies were not immediately clear. There are some 180 Leopard 1 tanks in Germany owned by arms maker Rheinmetall and a company in northern Germany.

In total, the German government approved the export of up to 178 Leopard 1 tanks to Ukraine.

“How many of these tanks can actually be delivered to Ukraine at the end of the day depends on the extent of the restoration work needed,” the German economy and the defence ministries said in a joint statement.

The decision was announced as new German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius visited Kyiv where he met President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and his counterpart, Oleksii Reznikov.

Reznikov tweeted a picture of him and Pistorius posing with a scale model Leopard in a display case, writing: “The ‘first’ Leopard 2 has arrived in Kyiv.”

Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands said their Leopard 1 initiative was open to further partners, adding Belgium had shown “initial interest to participate”.

Earlier, the head of German arms maker Rheinmetall said it would send Ukraine 20-25 Leopards this year, with the rest of the 88 Leopard 1 tanks it owns in total to be sent next year.

The move follows the German government’s decision last month, amid mounting international pressure, to deliver more modern Leopard 2 battle tanks from army stocks.

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