Germany has been criticized for its hesitancy on the tank issue – but now other countries are hesitating. So far, concrete commitments for “Leopard 2” have apparently only come from Germany and Poland – and now also from Portugal.
So far, the commitments of European countries to deliver “Leopard 2” tanks to Ukraine have apparently turned out to be lower than expected. For the modern variant “Leopard 2A6” in particular, there has apparently been no confirmation so far, except from Germany – the supply situation is thin, reports the dpa news agency, citing Berlin government circles. Poland had previously promised the older 2A4 version.
According to a report by “Spiegel”, Chancellor Olaf Scholz tried to get further delivery commitments by telephone from his counterparts. Last week, however, no other European country wanted to make concrete delivery commitments at a video conference held by Defense Minister Boris Pistorius, the magazine reports.
The Netherlands, which had already publicly announced delivery to Ukraine, did not want to be more specific.
Portugal wants to deliver – but how much?
Now the Prime Minister of Portugal, António Costa, has also promised “Leopard 2A6”, but has not yet said how many. “We are currently working on being able to do without some of our tanks. I know how many tanks we are going to send to Ukraine, but that will only be announced in due course,” Costa said during a troop visit to the Central African Republic. According to this, ready-to-use tanks are to go to Ukraine and defective ones are to be repaired so that Portugal’s defense capability is not impaired and it can continue to fulfill its NATO tasks.
When he promised German battle tanks, Scholz said that the aim was to first equip two tank battalions in Ukraine with “Leopard 2”. According to the Bundeswehr system, a battalion comprises 44 main battle tanks, according to the Ukrainian one only 31. It is not known to which system Scholz was referring. Germany will initially deliver 14 “Leopard 2A6”.
“Leopards” from Canada are to be delivered soon
Spain could initially send four to six Leopard 2A4s, reports the newspaper El País, citing government circles. There is no official confirmation for this so far. According to the report, these tanks would first have to be overhauled, which could take two and a half months. Spain has a total of 53 mothballed “Leopards” – how many it can give to Ukraine depends on the condition of the vehicles.
As a non-European country, Canada had agreed to initially send four “Leopard 2”. They are expected to be delivered in the coming weeks, Defense Minister Anita Anand said. Later, other main battle tanks could also be handed over under certain circumstances.
Training for Ukrainian soldiers has now begun on the British “Challenger 2” battle tanks. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, he said. In addition, the United States has promised “Abrams” main battle tanks, but their delivery is still a long way off.