BERLIN — Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands plan to deliver at least 100 Leopard 1 tanks to Ukraine, as Berlin has approved the export of up to 178 tanks.
According to a joint statement from the defense ministers of the three countries, they will provide at least 100 refurbished Leopard 1 tanks of the older A5 type from industrial stocks, with the first ones being delivered within a few months.
The initiative, the statement said, 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 further partners, according to the statement.
As the German defense and economy ministries confirmed on Tuesday, the economy ministry issued export licenses to German defense companies for the export of as many as 178 Leopard 1 A5 main battle tanks to Ukraine. The tanks come from industrial stocks and, for the most part, still need to be repaired.
“How many Leopard 1 A5 main battle tanks will actually be delivered to Ukraine depends on the required repair work,” the ministries said.
German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said during an unannounced visit to Kyiv on 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 with them by the first or second quarter of 2024, Pistorius said. The delivery, he added, will take place in stages, with 20 to 25 tanks delivered by summer.
A company from northern Germany, the Flensburger Fahrzeugbau Gesellschaft, is to make operational around 90 Leopard 1 models, which have been in storage for years, to deploy them to Ukraine, Spiegel magazine reported.
A second bundle will come from Italy, where the arms manufacturer Rheinmetall had already secured an option on 88 stored Leopard 1 tanks months ago. Rheinmetall has now initiated the purchase of the tanks and is set to modernize them, the report said. Still, the majority of the tanks will probably not be delivered until 2024.