Ukrainian military already training in Spain on Leopards, more tanks may be coming — Sanchez

23 February, 06:36 PM
Leopard 2 on training in Poland (Photo:REUTERS/Kacper Pempel/File Photo)

Leopard 2 on training in Poland (Photo:REUTERS/Kacper Pempel/File Photo)

The first group of Ukrainian troops has already started training on Leopard 2 tanks in Spain, and in the coming weeks, Madrid will consider whether it can increase the number of battle tanks promised to Kyiv to ten, Prime Minister of Spain Pedro Sanchez has said.

Speaking during a press conference in Kyiv on Feb. 23, the visiting Spanish leader said Madrid wants to synchronize the transfer of tanks to Ukraine with the end of the training, news agency Ukrinform reported.

“These tanks will contribute to strengthening the capabilities of the Ukrainian Armed Forces,” said the Spanish prime minister. “We’re already training Ukrainian soldiers to use our Leopards. The first batch of fighters is already in Spain, they’re having special training.”

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Sanchez says Spain is in favor of joint EU procurement to increase supplies to Ukraine, given the country’s critical need for arms.

On Jan. 25, after long hesitation, Germany approved the transfer of 14 Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine and their re-export from partner countries. On the same day, the United States announced the delivery of 31 Abrams tanks to Ukraine. German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said that the first tanks could be sent to Ukraine by the end of March.

On Feb. 15, Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak announced that Ukraine’s allies had formed a battalion of Leopard 2A4 tanks for Ukraine.

Spanish Defense Minister Margarita Robles confirmed plans to provide Ukraine with six Leopard 2A4 tanks on Feb. 22. They could be sent in late March or early April.

The head of the Pentagon, Lloyd Austin, said that a group of countries, including Germany, Poland, Canada, Portugal, Spain, Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands, are working on the transfer of Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, meanwhile, stated that Ukraine will receive 120-140 modern Western tanks in the first wave.

On Feb. 7, the German federal government approved the supply of Leopard 1 tanks to Ukraine. Germany issued a license to German military companies to transfer 178 Leopard 1A5 tanks to Ukraine. German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius confirmed during his visit to Kyiv on Feb. 7 that Ukraine will receive more than 100 Leopard 1A5 tanks from several European countries.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy stated that the defenders of Ukraine need 300-500 tanks to conduct an offensive to liberate more Ukrainian territory from Russian occupation.

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