18 Leopard 2 Tanks Donated by Germany Arrive in Ukraine. PHOTOS/Reuters
BERLIN – A total of 18 Leopard 2 battle tank which is promised by German to support Ukraine in its war against Russia has arrived in Ukraine. This was announced by the German Ministry of Defense, Monday (27/3/2023).
In January, Germany agreed to supply the tanks, which were considered among the best in the arsenal of the West. The move clears doubts about the delivery of heavy weaponry which Kiev says is essential to defeating a Russian invasion.
“I am sure they can make a decisive contribution on the front line,” German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said in a tweet, as quoted by Reuters.
In addition to the 18 tanks, 40 German Marder infantry fighting vehicles and two armored recovery vehicles have also reached Ukraine, a security source said. Apart from the German vehicles, three Leopard tanks donated by Portugal also reached Ukraine, the security source said.
German soldiers trained Ukrainian tank crews as well as troops assigned to operate Marder vehicles for several weeks in Muenster and Bergen in northern Germany.
Initially, Germany promised to supply 14 Leopard 2A6 tanks to Ukraine. However, there were not enough models for a tank battalion, and Berlin decided to send four more vehicles to Kiev.
Germany will also reportedly buy up to 28 self-propelled howitzer guns to replace the weapons they sent to Ukraine from army stockpiles last year. Heavy artillery-type weapons such as howitzers, long considered a thing of the past by military experts, have made a comeback as Ukraine seeks to repel a Russian invasion.
The government in Berlin has supplied Kyiv with 14 howitzers, and initially intended to ask parliament to replace them in the summer only. Defense Minister Boris Pistorius went ahead with the move after criticism that restocking of German military hardware was proceeding too slowly.
According to the draft budget, the defense ministry aims to procure at least 10 howitzers costing around €180 million from German arms maker Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW), and acquire options for the purchase of another 18.
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