Berlin Ukraine could receive up to 160 Leopard 1 main battle tanks from German industrial stocks. The companies Rheinmetall and FFG could repair a large part of their existing vehicles and make them available for export to Ukraine, industry circles reported to the Handelsblatt. She thus confirmed statements by FDP defense politician Marcus Faber. The federal government confirmed on Friday that a delivery to Ukraine would be released, but without giving any details.
The manufacturer Flensburger Fahrzeugbau (FFG) says it has 99 Leopard 1s in its halls, and Rheinmetall has a further 88 main battle tanks from the model series. The tank is the forerunner of the Leopard 2, of which Ukraine already has a commitment of 14 units from Germany. Other countries also want to supply Leopard 2 tanks.
Ukraine needs the tanks to defend itself against the Russian attack. In recent days, Russian forces have increased pressure on Kiev’s troops; Military observers expect Russia to launch an offensive. So far, Ukraine has mainly used Soviet-made battle tanks.
With the delivery of Leopard tanks, the convulsive power of the Ukrainian army will increase significantly. However, it is unclear when the vehicles from FFG and Rheinmetall will be fully equipped. According to the industry, some of them are in poor condition. Components from these could be used to refurbish other Leopard tanks.
Defense politician Faber described the upcoming delivery as a “substantial” contribution to the defense of Ukraine. “Quantities make the difference,” he said. If Germany still follows up with the Leopard 2, Germany will provide help that deserves the term “turning point”.
After the release of the Leopard delivery by the federal government, it still has to be clarified who will pay for the costs of the refurbishment. Financing via EU pots or the federal budget would be conceivable.
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