Germany approves delivery of Leopard 1 tanks to Ukraine, in talks with Qatar over Gepards

3 February, 01:13 PM
Soldiers on a Leopard tank in Slovakia, December 19, 2022 (Photo:REUTERS/Radovan Stoklasa)

Soldiers on a Leopard tank in Slovakia, December 19, 2022 (Photo:REUTERS/Radovan Stoklasa)

The German government has approved the delivery of Leopard 1 tanks to Ukraine from industrial stocks and is in talks with Qatar over purchasing back 15 Gepard armored anti-aircraft guns to send to Kyiv, the Reuters news agency reported on Feb. 3, citing the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung.

The delivery of the Leopard tanks to Ukraine could happen at any time once the tanks are repaired, the newspaper reported, citing government sources.

Rheinmetall and Flensburger Fahrzeugbau Gesellschaft (FFG) want to recondition dozens of Leopards 1 tanks and could supply them to Ukraine if Kyiv was willing to buy them, it added.

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In addition, several German officials discussed with Qatar’s foreign ministry a possible purchase of 15 Gepard tanks that Doha had bought to secure World Cup stadiums, the newspaper said, adding that Berlin was trying to get more ammunition from Qatar.

“The Gepards have proven themselves very well in the war in Ukraine,” new German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius was quoted as saying by the newspaper.

“If we could get more from our partners there, that would definitely help the Ukrainians.”

On Jan. 25, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz officially announced that Germany would transfer 14 Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine and approve their re-export from partner countries. According to Defense Minister Pistorius, the tanks could be sent to Ukraine in about three months.

The same day, U.S. President Joe Biden announced plans to supply 31 M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, along with the equipment and spare parts needed to keep them running. Biden added that while the delivery of Abrams will take some time, the training of Ukrainian crews will begin as soon as possible.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Jan. 31 that Ukraine would receive 120-140 modern Western tanks in the first wave of deliveries. According to him, the “tank coalition” of countries supplying main battle tanks to Ukraine already has 12 member countries.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy had earlier said that the Ukrainian defenders need 300-500 tanks to launch another offensive.

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