Ukraine, Pistorius: “Tank Leopard 2 in Kiev by the end of March”

The tweet from the German Ministry of Defense

The Leopard 2A6 tanks promised by Germany will be in Ukraine by the end of March. This was announced in a tweet by the German defense ministry, showing a photo of the meeting today in Kiev between the Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky and the German defense minister Boris Pistorius.

As for the older-model Leopard tanks, Pistorius explained in Kiev that they will be delivered in several stages. The first 20-25 Leopard 1A5s will arrive in Ukraine by the summer, with up to 80 more to be delivered within the year. The goal is to reach over 100 in the first or second quarter of 2024. In this way it will be possible to equip at least three Ukrainian battalions, which will also have ammunition and spare parts. The training of 600 Ukrainian servicemen on the use of this tank has already begun. Since these are old model tanks, they need to be fine-tuned before sending.

By the end of the month, Pistorius added, more guided missiles, five Gepard anti-aircraft tanks and five Badger armored vehicles will arrive in Ukraine. By March, five Biber armored vehicles for laying assault bridges will arrive.

On a surprise visit to Kiev, the new German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius announced the arrival in Kiev of more than one hundred Leopard tanks of the old model. These are Leopard 1A5s from various European countries, the minister said without specifying further.

Meanwhile, the German Ministry of Economy has approved the export of up to 178 Leopard 1A5s to Ukraine. A joint statement from this ministry and that of Defense explained that the number sent “will depend on the maintenance required”. The authorization also covers tanks of this type owned by other countries, since they are German-made and therefore need the green light from Berlin for re-export.

German arms manufacturer Rheinmetall expects to send the first 20-25 Leopard 1s to Ukraine within the year. Another 88 will be sent by 2024, chief executive Armin Pappergersaid said today. The Leopard 1s were decommissioned twenty years ago and need to be refurbished before being sent to Ukraine.