Hear us roar! EU allies announce Leopard tanks for Ukraine

Hear us roar! EU allies announce Leopard tanks for Ukraine
Опубликовано: Friday, 24 February 2023 16:40

Poland, Portugal and Sweden will together provide enough tanks for one mixed Ukrainian battalion.

Poland, Sweden and Germany said Friday they would deliver tanks for Ukraine, on the one-year anniversary of Vladimir Putin’s full-scale invasion.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said Friday in Kyiv that Poland has already delivered four Leopard tanks to Ukraine — and more are in the pipeline. “Poland and Europe stand by your side. We will definitely not leave you, we will support Ukraine until complete victory over Russia,” said Morawiecki, while standing next to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy during a symbolic anniversary visit to Kyiv.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denis Shmyhal later thanked Morawiecki for the tanks, and praised Kyiv’s Western partners for taking “decisive steps.”

Later Friday, Sweden announced that it will send up to 10 Leopard 2 tanks and HAWK anti-aircraft systems to Ukraine. During a press conference, Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said that the decision had come “on Germany’s initiative.”

Germany’s defense ministry later announced that it will supply Ukraine with four more German-made Leopard 2 battle tanks from Bundeswehr stocks, thus increasing its share from 14 to 18 tanks. “With today’s announcement by Sweden of the delivery of ten Leopard 2 A5 main battle tanks, which are technically similar to the German 2 A6 version, we, together with Portugal, are in a position to provide Ukraine with 31 Leopard 2s,” the ministry said in a statement.

“With this decision, together with our Portuguese and Swedish partners, we are now in a position to provide one mixed Ukrainian battalion,” it added. “Together with Poland, an initiative was launched to provide Ukraine with two battalions of Leopard 2 main battle tanks.”

Decisions to deliver Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine followed an intense lobbying campaign from Warsaw, which culminated recently in Germany’s agreement to give state-of-the-art tanks to Kyiv. The U.S. and other European allies have also pledged to send more military hardware to Ukraine.

Gabriel Rinaldi contributed reporting.

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