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Germany to send more repaired Leopard 1 tanks to Ukraine to replace losses

Leopard, Germany, Pistorious, Ukraine counteroffensive
German Defense MInister Boris Pistorius. Photo: RTL
Germany to send more repaired Leopard 1 tanks to Ukraine to replace losses

There should be 100 refurbished Leopard 1 tanks by the end of the year, says German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius

Germany’s Defense Minister Boris Pistorius has promised to increase the supply of refurbished Leopard 1 A5 tanks to Ukraine, amidst recent reports of several Leopard 2 tanks being lost on the frontlines, Germany’s RTL reported.

“We won’t be able to replace every tank that’s currently out of order. But what we are doing…from July we will continue the supply of refurbished Leopard 1 A5 tanks, which have undergone repair, and there will be over 100 by the end of the year. The tanks, as before, will be [delivered],” Pistorius said.

In February, Berlin approved the delivery of 88 Leopard 1 tanks to Ukraine.

In its first counteroffensive operations in Zaporizhzhia Oblast, Ukraine lost western equipment. However, Russian propagandists greatly exaggerated the amount of what was lost.

As of 13 June, according to the verified open-source weapons losses tracker Oryx, Ukraine lost 4 Leopard tanks and 3 Leopard mine clearing tanks.

Ukraine’s deputy foreign minister and ex-ambassador to Germany Andriy Melnyk has asked Germany to send more Leopard tanks and Marder IFVs.

So how many Leopard tanks did Ukraine lose near Mala Tokmachka?

Ukraine asks Germany to send more Leopards and Marders

Leopard tanks in Ukraine: background

In the ongoing war in Ukraine, Kyiv has been seeking more modern and effective weapons from its Western allies to counter the Russian aggression. Among the most desired items are main battle tanks, which can provide superior firepower and protection on the frontlines. Ukraine has been relying on Soviet-era tanks, such as the T-64 and T-72, which are outdated and outmatched by the Russian T-90 and T-14 Armata tanks.

After months of hesitation and debate, Germany finally agreed in January 2023 to provide Ukraine with Leopard 2 tanks, which are considered to be among the best in the world. Germany also lifted its export restrictions on other countries that wanted to send their Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, such as Poland and Canada.

The first shipment of 18 German-made Leopard 2 tanks arrived in Ukraine in March 2023, along with two tank-recovery vehicles and 40 Marder infantry fighting vehicles. The Ukrainian tank crews had been trained by the German army to operate the advanced A6 variant of the Leopard 2, which can compete with the Russian T-90 and is more fuel-efficient and easier to maintain than most other Western tanks.

Germany was not the only country to send tanks to Ukraine. The UK also delivered its first batch of Challenger 2 tanks to Ukraine in March 2023, after announcing its decision in February. The Challenger 2 is another highly regarded main battle tank, with a powerful 120mm gun and a sophisticated armor system. The UK also sent other military equipment and personnel to support Ukraine’s defense.

The US, which had been reluctant to send its M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine due to logistical and political reasons, finally changed its mind in January 2023, after Germany’s move and increasing pressure from Congress. The US announced that it would send at least 30 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, along with other weapons and advisers. The Abrams is one of the most widely used and proven main battle tanks in the world, with a formidable combination of speed, firepower and protection.

With these shipments of Western-made tanks, Ukraine hopes to gain an edge over the Russian forces and regain some of the territory it lost. According to Ukrainian officials, they need at least 300 modern main battle tanks to win the war. So far, they have received around 100 from various countries, including Germany, the UK, the US, Poland, Canada, and Türkiye. However, they also face challenges such as integrating different types of tanks into their army structure and maintaining them in harsh conditions.

The difference between the Leopard 1 and Leopard 2 tanks is that the former is an older model that was replaced by the latter in the German military in 2003. The Leopard 1 has a weaker armour and a smaller gun than the Leopard 2, but it is lighter and faster. Germany has not sent any Leopard 1 tanks to Ukraine, but it has approved their export by other countries that still have them in their inventory.

Ukraine now probably has as many tanks as Russia

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