Slovakia will receive Leopard 2 tanks from Germany in exchange for Slovakia assisting Ukraine with fighting equipment from the Soviet era, according to the Berlin Defense Ministry.
The agreement is one of several “ring swaps,” as German defence officials refer to them, being worked on with countries in Eastern Europe since the spring in response to Russia’s continued aggression against Ukraine, which officially began on February 24. A contract permitting the shipment of 15 Leopard 2 tanks in the A4 form to Bratislava was signed by Slovak and German officials on August 23.
The German-owned tanks are intended to replenish Slovakia’s armoury with Western weapons. According to Reuters, Jaroslav Nad, Slovakia’s defence minister, stated on Tuesday that the former member of the Eastern Bloc will give 30 tracked BVP-1 infantry fighting vehicles to Ukraine. These vehicles are regarded as being in the same weight class as battle tanks.
According to German officials, the Leopard 2 agreement is intended to fill “part of the gap” created by Slovakia’s decreased defence capabilities as a result of the donation to Ukraine. After Slovakia designated one of its S-300 missile defence systems for Ukraine, Germany earlier backfilled a Patriot air defence battery with assistance from the Netherlands and the United States.
Ammunition, instruction, and spare parts are also included in Germany’s tank kit. According to officials, the first Leopard 2s should arrive in Slovakia later this year.
According to German Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht, Slovakia will deliver infantry fighting vehicles to Ukraine as soon as feasible because Ukrainian soldiers are accustomed to driving them. In addition to Berlin’s direct equipment shipments, Lambrecht hailed the ring swap mechanism as a “logical” means of assisting Ukraine in its “battle for existence.”
The amount of military assistance Germany is providing to Ukraine is still a subject of debate among decision-makers in the ruling coalition. Given that manufacturers are sitting on a substantial stock of dated equipment that they bought over decades of budget cuts and reductions in the size of the armed services, some have suggested that Berlin should deploy additional weaponry.
The administration has also promised Ukraine brand-new weapons including the IRIS-T air defence weapon and the Vulcano 155mm precision-guided artillery munition. One such system is already identified as a potential transfer in the government’s ongoing list of assistance deliveries.
According to Der Spiegel, Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Tuesday that three extra IRIS-T systems might be provided.