EU state to send more old Leopard tanks to Ukraine

Spain will donate up to 20 mothballed Leopard 2A4 main battle tanks to Ukraine, adding to the ten sent last year, local media reported this week. The EU nation has a stockpile of over 100 of the vehicles manufactured in the late 1980s.

The news was first reported by Spanish outlet ABC, after Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez chaired a high-profile meeting with executives of national defense contractors.

Last year, Sanchez authorized donating ten of the German-designed tanks to Kiev despite the objections of Podemos, his left-wing party junior coalition partner at the time.

The new shipment will be drawn from storage, where they have been kept for the last decade, and refurbished at a factory in Seville before being transferred to Kiev, ABC said. The report offered no specific timeline, but said the deliveries would happen over the coming months.

A list of previous Spanish military aid to Ukraine was revealed by Secretary of State for Trade Xiana Mendez earlier this week. Local media estimated the value of the armaments at €133 million ($145 million). The list included items ranging from night vision goggles to the ten Leopard tanks, dispatched by the Defense Ministry between March 2022 and the end of February this year.

Forbes noted that the new armor donation had been anticipated, considering that as of 2022 Spain had more than 100 of the vintage Leopard 2A4s acquired from German surplus stock in 1998. Santa Barbara Sistemas, the manufacturer that operates the plant in Seville, has produced more than 200 Leopard tanks of the newer 2E version.

Added to the additional 14 Leopard 2A4 tanks pledged by Germany and the Netherlands, the Spanish donation would allow Kiev’s 33rd Mechanized Brigade to replenish its fleet eroded by battlefield losses and breakdowns, the magazine said.

Moscow has warned that whatever Western military assistance Ukraine receives cannot change the outcome of the conflict. It perceives the hostilities to be part of a US-led proxy war on Russia and has said that it will not compromise on its national security goals.

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