Cyprus ready to send Soviet-made tanks to Ukraine in exchange of German Leopards from Greece

22 January, 11:37 AM
Leopard-2 battle tanks (Photo:REUTERS/Ints Kalnins/File Photo)

Leopard-2 battle tanks (Photo:REUTERS/Ints Kalnins/File Photo)

Cyprus has announced its readiness to ship Soviet-made T-80U tanks to Ukraine in exchange for German-designed Leopard tanks, military news website Army Recognition reported on Jan. 20.

The Mediterranean country has about 80 of these tanks in service.

According to the publication, in the spring of 2022, the United States asked the Cypriot government to provide Ukraine with TOR-M1 and S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems, as well as T-80U tanks, BMP-3 infantry fighting vehicles, and Mi-35 attack helicopters. At that time, Nicosia put forward one condition: the swift delivery of German Leopard 2 tanks in exchange for its T-80Us. To date, there has been no response from Berlin.

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Cyprus wants the tanks to come from friendly Greece, which already has them in service. The Greek arsenal has 170 Leopard 2A's and 183 Leopard2A4GR's produced in the 1980s, but they are currently being retrofitted.

Greece, in turn, wants to receive newer Leopard 2's in exchange – to avoid depleting its army's capabilities amid worsening relations with Turkey.

In recent weeks, some allies have expressed their willingness to provide Ukraine with German-made Leopard tanks, but are awaiting German approval of this decision. On the sidelines of the latest “Ramstein format” summit, ministers from 15 countries discussed the transfer of such hardware to Ukraine.

However, Germany has not yet made a decision on this matter.

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