Spain, Finland to send Leopard tanks to Ukraine

Spain, Finland to send Leopard tanks to Ukraine
Опубликовано: Friday, 24 February 2023 07:52

‘You are not alone in this war,’ Spanish PM tells Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Spain and Finland will send Leopard 2 battle tanks to Ukraine, the countries’ governments said Thursday.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez announced he would send 10 Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine as he visited Kyiv on Thursday for the second time since the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion.

Western allies are ramping up the supply of military hardware to Ukraine, as it prepares to face a potential renewed Russian onslaught this spring.

In a joint press conference with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Sánchez said: “You are not alone in this war. We will stand with Ukraine as long as necessary.”

The delivery of the tanks will take place “in the coming weeks or months,” Sánchez told reporters.

Zelenskyy thanked Spain for the military aid, saying that tanks will help to protect Ukrainian cities and the collaboration will help to “liberate our homeland as soon as possible.”

Earlier in the day, Finland also announced it would give tanks to Ukraine.

“We will send more defense material and participate in the Leopard cooperation together with our partners,” Defense Minister Mikko Savola said in a press release from his ministry, announcing that Finland will hand over three Leopard 2 battle tanks to Ukraine and also provide training related to their use and maintenance.

The ministry did not provide information on the timing of delivery, citing “operational reasons.”

Kyiv has specifically asked allies for Leopard 2 tanks on several occasions, saying they are “very much needed.”

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has recently heaped pressure on Ukraine’s allies to join Berlin in delivering German-made, modern Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine.

Scholz hesitated for months over whether to send the tanks, only changing course last month, when he vowed to build an international alliance that would give Ukraine 80 of the machines, but allies are struggling to reach that number.

The total value of the latest Finnish aid package for Ukraine is more than €160 million, the defense ministry said, bringing the total amount pledged to Kyiv to €750 million.

“Friday 24 February marks the one-year anniversary of the start of Russia’s war of aggression, and Ukraine continues to need support in its defense,” the Finnish defense minister said in the press release.

This article has been updated.

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