BERLIN — Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands plan to deliver at least 100 Leopard 1 tanks to Ukraine, as Berlin approved the export of up to 178 tanks.
According to a joint statement defense ministers of the three countries, they will supply at least 100 refurbished Leopard 1 tanks of the old A5 type from industrial stocks, with the first to be delivered within a few months.
The initiative, according to the statement, includes training on the Leopard 1 A5 as well as a “spare parts and ammunition package”.
Belgium has also shown initial interest in participating, and the initiative is open to other partners, according to the statement.
As confirmed by the German Ministries of Defense and Economics on Tuesday, the Ministry of Economics has issued export licenses to German defense companies for the export of 178 Leopard 1 A5 main battle tanks to Ukraine. The tanks come from industrial stocks and mostly still need to be repaired.
“The number of Leopard 1 A5 main battle tanks that will actually be delivered to Ukraine depends on the repair work required,” the ministries said.
German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius told an unannounced conference visit to Kyiv Tuesday that Ukraine is to receive more than 100 Leopard 1 A5 main battle tanks from a “group of several European countries”.
At least three battalions will be equipped by the first or second quarter of 2024, Pistorius said. The delivery, he added, will be in stages, with 20 to 25 tanks delivered by the summer.
A northern German company, the Flensburger Fahrzeugbau Gesellschaft, is to operationalize around 90 Leopard 1 models, stored for years, for deployment in Ukraine, Spiegel magazine reported.
A second package will come from Italy, where arms maker Rheinmetall had already secured an option on 88 Leopard 1 tanks stored months ago. Rheinmetall has now started purchasing the tanks and is preparing to upgrade them, according to the report. Still, the majority of tanks are unlikely to be delivered until 2024.