German Leopard 2 tanks and first British tanks arrive in Ukraine

Germany Ukraine War
FILE — German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius, right, sits on a Leopard 2 tank at the Bundeswehr tank battalion 203 at the Field Marshal Rommel Barracks in Augustdorf, Germany, Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023. Nearly a year after Chancellor Olaf Scholz declared Russia’s invasion of Ukraine a ‘turning point’ that would trigger German weapons supplies to a country at war and a massive increase in spending on the German armed forces, his country’s military turnaround still has a long way to go. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, file) Martin Meissner/AP

German Leopard 2 tanks and first British tanks arrive in Ukraine

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Ukraine received its first tanks from Germany and the United Kingdom, among other tactical vehicles, officials of all three countries announced on Monday.

Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said on Facebook they had received Challengers, main battle tanks, from the U.K.; Strykers, infantry fighting vehicles, and Cougars, infantry mobility vehicles from the mine-resistant ambush-protected family, from the U.S.; and Marders, infantry fighting vehicles, from Germany.

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“A year ago, no one could have imagined that the support of our partners would be so strong. That the entire civilized world would reboot and eventually resist the bloody aggressor, the terrorist country of Russia,” he said. “This year, everything has changed. Ukraine has changed the world. The resilience of the Ukrainian people and the skill of our army convinced everyone that Ukraine will win.”

Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Germany had also delivered the much-sought-after 18 German Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine that had been promised to them.

“Our tanks, as promised, arrived on time in the hands of our Ukrainian friends,” German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said on social media. “I am sure that they can do something important at the front!”

Germany had initially refused to provide Ukraine with Leopard 2 tanks, going as far as to give them up only if President Joe Biden did the same with U.S. tanks. Biden ultimately gave in, ending the stalemate when he announced a plan to provide Ukraine with 31 M1A2 Abrams tanks, though the Pentagon later decided they would provide them with M1A1 tanks because it would reduce the length of time before they would arrive in Ukraine.

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By making the change, the tanks will reach Ukraine “by the fall of this year,” Pentagon spokesman Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder told reporters last week, while initially officials thought it could take longer.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said earlier this month that the U.S. and allies had collectively provided Ukraine with “more than nine brigades of tanks and other armored vehicles.”

© 2023 Washington Examiner

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