According to a joint statement released Tuesday, Denmark, Germany, and the Netherlands will pool funds to refurbish at least 100 outdated Leopard 1 tanks from industrial stocks and supply them to Ukraine.
According to a statement released by the office of Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov after the counterparts’ meeting, German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius stated that between 20 and 25 of the tanks would arrive by summer, about 80 by the end of the year, and another 100 in 2024. Pistorius was in Kyiv on an unexpected visit.
Germany’s Vice-chancellor, Robert Habeck, stated in Washington that although Ukraine should have double-digit Leopard 1 tanks available in the first quarter, it was uncertain how many of the 178 tanks his nation had allowed would be dispatched.
After meeting with Anthony Blinken, the secretary of state, and Jake Sullivan, the national security adviser, he told reporters, “The numbers are there, but they have to be refurbished for war, re-equipped, so we don’t know exactly how many.” But it takes a lot of people to fend against Russia’s spring attack.
When asked if, after months of increasing pressure on Berlin, the decision to send them should have been made sooner, Habeck responded, “I hope the decision was reached at the right time.”
According to a joint statement from Denmark, Germany, and the Netherlands regarding their plans, Ukraine would soon receive at least 100 Leopard 1 A5 tanks and logistical assistance, training, spare parts, and ammunition.
On the national Dutch channel NOS, she added, “It’s a tested tank.” They are being repaired and rendered battle-ready, making them better than some Russian tanks and unquestionably helpful to the Ukrainians.
Reznikov and Pistorius were both in Kyiv at the time, and Pistorius made the point that he had previously seen Ukrainian forces depart for training in Germany on the more sophisticated Leopard 2 tanks that Germany had also promised Ukraine.
Reznikov tweeted a picture of himself and Pistorius posing with a scale model of the Leopard in a display case, along with the statement that the “first” Leopard 2 had arrived in Kyiv. The Leopard 2s themselves would become available at the end of March, according to a later statement from the German Ministry of Defense.
When Denmark, Germany, and the Netherlands declared their Leopard 1 program was open to other partners, Belgium had indicated “early eagerness to participate,” they added.
The German arms manufacturer Rheinmetall’s CEO stated that the company would supply 20–25 Leopard 1 tanks to Ukraine this year and the remaining 88 Leopard 1 tanks the following year.
The action comes after the German government decided last month to deliver more contemporary Leopard 2 battle tanks from army inventories in response to growing international pressure.