Ukraine war: Germany sends long-awaited Leopard tanks

MARCH 28: Eighteen state-of-the-art main battle tanks were delivered after Ukrainian crews were trained to use them.

Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said he was confident the tanks could “make a decisive contribution” on the front lines of the war.

Challenger 2 tanks have also arrived from the UK, according to reports from Ukraine.

Ukraine has been asking for more modern vehicles and weapons systems for months to help fight Russia’s invasion.

The Ukrainian government has yet to comment on the arrival of the Leopard 2, but has confirmed the arrival of the first UK-built Challenger 2 tanks.

European countries use around 2,000 Leopard 2s, widely considered to be one of the best main battle tanks produced by NATO countries.

Germany agreed to supply the tanks to Ukraine in January, after initially being reluctant to do so, or even to allow other countries to send theirs.

Under German law, Berlin must approve the re-export of the Leopard 2 by any country.

German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said the tanks “have reached the hands of our Ukrainian friends as promised and on time.”

The German military has been training Ukrainian tank crews to use the advanced A6 variant of the Leopard 2 for the past several weeks.

They have been specifically designed to compete with the Russian T-90 main battle tank and are considered to be easier to maintain and more fuel efficient than most other Western tanks.

In addition to the Leopard 2s, Germany also sent two specialized tank recovery vehicles and 40 Marder infantry fighting vehicles to Ukraine.

Meanwhile, the UK’s Challenger 2 tanks “are already in Ukraine,” Defense Ministry spokeswoman Iryna Zolotar told the AFP news agency.

Posting an image of a Challenger 2 alongside other Western-made military vehicles on his Facebook page, Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov described the British vehicle as a work of military art.

The UK Defense Ministry declined to comment but previously confirmed that Ukrainian tank crews training in Britain had returned home after completing their training with the tanks.

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