Netherlands, Germany & Denmark buying at least 100 Leopard 1 tanks for Ukraine
The Netherlands, together with Germany and Denmark, is buying "at least" a hundred Leopard 1-A5 battle tanks for Ukraine. They will also provide the ammunition for the vehicles and spare parts. The Netherlands also wants to provide training for Ukrainian tank crews.
The modernized tanks will be purchased directly from German suppliers. They are in storage there, Defense Minister Kajsa Ollongren and Foreign Affairs Minister Wopke Hoekstra told the Tweede Kamer. The Cabinet has not yet disclosed the amount of money involved in the deal. According to the Germans, another 20 to 25 tanks will be delivered by the summer.
The number of additional tanks available for delivery to Ukraine will depend on how quickly the German military sector can replenish the number of tanks in storage, the Dutch Defense Ministry said. The Leopard 1-A5 tank is an older tank that entered the market in the late 1980s.
"The war in Ukraine is at a crucial stage. I expect combat operations to intensify in the coming months. Russia is continuing to mobilize and there are signs that Russia is preparing a new offensive. That is why supplying main battle tanks is important," Ollongren said.
Last month, the German government also agreed to supply Leopard 2 tanks to the Ukrainian military. There was great international pressure on the German government to agree to allow this. Countries have now announced that they will deliver more than a hundred of the more modern tanks to Ukraine.
This delivery of Leopard 1-A5 tanks is separate from the delivery of Leopard 2-A6 tanks to Ukraine, according to the Ministry of Defense. "Discussions about this are still ongoing." The Netherlands has no tanks of its own, but leases eighteen from Germany. The Cabinet is considering buying them outright and transferring them to Ukraine.
It is not the first time that the Netherlands has sent tanks to Ukraine. Last year, together with the United States and the Czech Republic, the government bought ninety modernized Russian T-72 tanks for the Ukrainians. The Netherlands has already donated more than a billion euros worth of military equipment to Kyiv.
There have been warnings about a possible intensified Russian offensive in the east of the country. Ukraine's defense minister recently said he expected another large-scale attack around the anniversary of the invasion. February 24 marks one year since Russia's invasion of its neighboring country.
Reporting by ANP