Leopard tanks: Ukrainian soldiers are trained in Poland

after meeting Pistorius
Defense Minister Reznikov: Ukrainian soldiers are being trained on Leopard tanks in Poland

Soldiers in a Leopard tank at a military training area

Bundeswehr soldiers with a Leopard 2 A6 main battle tank at the military training area in Bergen

© Sven Eckelkamp / Imago Images

Ukraine has long hoped for delivery of Leopard main battle tanks. Now the Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Resnikov has announced that Ukrainian soldiers will be trained on German Leopard tanks in Poland.

“Countries that already have Leopard tanks can begin training operations for our tank crews,” Reznikov told US state broadcaster Voice of America (VOA). Meanwhile, talks about the delivery of Leopard tanks to Ukraine continued, including with the new German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius (SPD).

Referring to the training of Ukrainian soldiers on Leopard tanks said Resnikov: “We’ll start with that and move on from there.” He hopes that after “internal consultations” Germany will decide to export the tanks. He is “optimistic” in this regard, and the “first step” has been taken with Leopard training for Ukrainian soldiers.

Reznikov: All previously announced aid packages for Ukraine confirmed

The results of the meeting of Ukraine-Contact group at the US base in Ramstein on Friday Reznikov spoke positively to VOA. Reznikov, who attended the meeting himself, said that all previously announced aid packages for his country had been confirmed, and that “some new packages” had been discussed behind closed doors. He “cannot announce this yet”, but is “very satisfied”.

In the short message service Twitter Resnikov also wrote that he had with his new German colleague Pistorius had a “frank discussion” about Leopard tanks – and added: “To be continued”.

Germany wants to examine possible supply of Leopard tanks

At the Ukraine Contact Group meeting in Ramstein no decision had been made on Friday about the delivery of Leopard tanks to Ukraine. The new Federal Defense Minister Boris Pistorius (SPD) first ordered an examination of the stocks of Leopard tanks for a possible delivery to Ukraine.

The lack of a decision on Leopard deliveries had in Germany itself triggered considerable criticism. Among other things, the chairwoman of the defense committee in the Bundestag, Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann (FDP), said on ZDF that Germany had “unfortunately just failed”.

Even before the meeting in Ramstein, Poland and other EU and NATO countries had agreed to provide the Ukrainian army with German-made Leopard tanks. However, the federal government would have to give the green light for this. Kyiv has long been demanding the delivery of western main battle tanks.

After the meeting, Federal Defense Minister Pistorius said that the issue of export permits “was not decided in Ramstein,” said Pistorius. However, he “explicitly said that Germany would not stand in the way,” particularly with regard to possible preparatory training on the main battle tanks.


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