Germany to Allow Export of Older Leopard 1 Tanks to Ukraine
BERLIN — Germany has agreed to allow the export of Leopard 1 battle tanks to Ukraine, a government spokesman said on Friday, providing an opportunity to increase tank deliveries to Ukraine as battles intensify in eastern part of this country.
Leopard 1 is an old German-made tank model that Berlin Export approval of the previous month, Leopard 2. Older tanks, manufactured between the 1960s and 1980s, would need to be refurbished before they could be ready for combat use. They may also face shortages of available ammunition.
The Leopard 1 tank will most likely come from the warehouses of German weapons manufacturers. But the prime minister’s spokesman, Steffen Hebestreit, declined to provide details or comment on how much could be transferred. German media reports put the number between 29 and 88 tanks.
“I don’t want to say more at this stage,” Hebestreit told journalists in Berlin on Friday. “That will then become more specific in the coming days and weeks.”
Last week, under heavy pressure from European allies, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz agreed to send Ukraine 14 significantly more modern Leopard 2 tanks from Berlin and allow other countries to have German-made tanks. production does the same thing. He agreed to the transfer after the United States pledged to send Kiev up to 30 M1 Abrams tanks.
An important complication for bringing the Leopard 1 tank to Ukraine was ammunition. Some of the necessary ammunition is manufactured in Switzerland, where a strict neutrality policy has hindered sales for use in Ukraine. Brazil also produces ammunition for the Leopard 1 tank. But because of its close ties with Russia, Brazil has refused to supply Germany with its own ammunition – even after Mr. Scholz’s visit to the country this week. before, according to the Portuguese and German media.
Unlike the Leopard 1 – the first main battle tank built for the German army after World War II – the more modern Leopard 2 is one of the world’s leading battle tanks. It has been used by the German Army for decades and by the armies of more than a dozen other European countries, as well as the armies of countries such as Canada and Indonesia. Leopard 2 has been used in conflicts in Afghanistan, Kosovo and Syria.