Germany has delivered Leopard tanks to Ukraine: Scholz

AFP , Monday 27 Mar 2023

Germany has delivered promised Leopard battle tanks to Ukraine, Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Monday, providing Kyiv with much-needed heavy weaponry against Russia.

 Olaf Scholz
This decision follows on from our official line to support Ukraine to the best of our ability, said Scholz. AFP


"Yes, we delivered Leopard tanks as we announced," Scholz told a press conference with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte in Rotterdam when asked to confirm a report in news outlet Spiegel.

The report said Berlin had delivered 18 of the advanced Leopards, with the last of the tanks having left Germany at the end of last week, before being handed over to Ukraine at the border.

About 40 Marder infantry fighting vehicles have also arrived in Ukraine, Spiegel said, adding Berlin was keeping the route of the deliveries secret for security reasons.

The German defence ministry declined to comment when contacted by AFP.

Ukrainian soldiers were trained on the 2A6s, the most advanced of the Leopard models, on German military bases.

At the end of January, Berlin finally gave the green light for German-made Leopards, among the world's most advanced tanks and used by militaries across Europe, to be sent to Ukraine.

Under German law, any country wanting to send the tanks to another country must first get approval from Berlin.

Scholz's government initially said it was aiming to assemble, along with allies, two battalions of tanks for Kyiv, about 60 tanks in total.

But they have since struggled to get the numbers together.

The German and Dutch cabinets held a special joint session in the port city of Rotterdam on Monday at the huge, mirrored depot of the Boijmans Van Beuningen art museum.

Scholz and Rutte said they had discussed military support for Ukraine and their "unique" military cooperation, which involves Germany and the Netherlands merging some of their armed units.

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