Norway to deliver eight Leopard 2

Training Ukrainian soldiers on the Leopard 2 in Poland

Eight nations are ready to provide main battle tanks of the type.

(Photo: Reuters)

Berlin For a long time, the German government seemed like a loser when it came to supplying heavy battle tanks to Ukraine. And the impression was created that if Germany finally gave up its reluctance and approved the transfer of Leopard tanks, Ukraine would be inundated with tank supplies.

Now it turns out that it’s not quite that simple. On January 25, Germany announced that it would provide Ukraine with 14 modern Leopard 2A6 tanks and also allow other countries to export German-made main battle tanks. But the declared goal of putting together two Ukrainian tank battalions – a good 60 vehicles in all – has not yet been achieved.

Of the modern Leopard 2 variant A6, only 14 from Germany and three from Portugal are available so far, said Federal Defense Minister Boris Pistorius (SPD) on Tuesday at a meeting with his NATO counterparts in Brussels. Things are not looking much better for the Polish-organized formation of a battalion of older A4 version Leopard 2 models.

Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) appealed to European states to provide battle tanks as promised. “I am very glad that there is a willingness of many to do this,” he said during a visit to Belgium. “I also hope that happens.”

On Tuesday, Norway announced plans to deliver eight of its 36 Leopard 2s to Ukraine. “It is more important than ever to support Ukraine’s struggle for freedom,” said Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Störe. The Scandinavian country acquired used Leopard 2A4s in 2004. A few days ago it was announced that the government in Oslo wants to buy 54 modern Leopard 2A7s from the manufacturer Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW).

Defense Minister Boris Pistorius at a meeting with his NATO counterparts in Brussels

Besides Germany, only Portugal is providing Leopard 2 tanks of the modern A6 variant.

(Photo: dpa)

The promised four Leopard 2 from Canada have meanwhile arrived in Poland. Canada’s Defense Minister Anita Anand tweeted on Tuesday that around 25 Canadian soldiers had been sent to Poland to train Ukrainian crews on tanks. The Polish army has also started training.

Training by the Bundeswehr is scheduled to begin this week

The Bundeswehr wants to start this week at the military training area in Munster, Lower Saxony. This takes around six to eight weeks. At a meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and Defense Minister Oleksiy Resnikov in Kiev last week, Federal Defense Minister Pistorius said that the promised 14 Leopard 2 from Germany should be handed over to Ukraine by the end of March.

At the most recent meeting of the so-called Ukraine contact group in Ramstein in January, Pistorius declared that the states supporting Ukraine were by no means as united on the battle tank issue as it sometimes appeared from the outside.

According to the US Department of Defense, eight nations are now willing to provide Ukraine with Leopard tanks. In addition to Germany, Poland, Canada, Portugal and Norway, these are Spain, Denmark and the Netherlands.

With agency material.

More: Interview with US security expert Peter Rough – “Ukraine could be doomed to wage an eternal war”

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