Ukraine received 18 Leopard 2 tanks from Germany, the Defense Ministry in Berlin said.
In January, Germany agreed to supply tanks that are considered to be among the best in the Western arsenal. Thus, Berlin overcame concerns about sending heavy weapons, which Kiev says are essential to repel a Russian invasion.
Moscow regards these deliveries as a dangerous provocation.
“I am convinced that they will be able to make a decisive contribution to the front,” tweeted German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius.
Along with 18 tanks, 40 Marder infantry fighting vehicles and two armored recovery vehicles were delivered to Ukraine, a law enforcement source said.
The German army has been training Ukrainian tank crews and military personnel for several weeks, who will pilot the Marder infantry fighting vehicle. The training took place in Münster and Bergen in northern Germany.
Ukraine also received three Leopard tanks donated by Portugal, the source said.
For security reasons, Berlin is keeping certain supply routes secret, Spiegel magazine reported.
At the end of January, Berlin finally approved the delivery of Leopards to Ukraine, considered one of the most modern tanks used throughout Europe.
At the same time, the United States announced that it would send modern American Abrams tanks.
According to German law, any country wishing to send German-made tanks to another country must obtain permission from Berlin.
Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s government initially said it intended to assemble two tank battalions for Kiev with the Allies – a total of 60 tanks.
However, so far they have not been able to collect such an amount.
On Monday, a special joint meeting of the German and Dutch cabinets took place in Rotterdam.
Scholz and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said they discussed military support for Ukraine and their “unique” military cooperation, which includes the unification of some German and Dutch military units.
“The message that Europe is sending, even more than a year after the start of the war, remains absolutely clear: we support Ukraine in all areas and we will do so for as long as it takes,” he said. Rutte.
The Dutch Prime Minister also condemned recent statements by Russian officials, including former President Dmitry Medvedev, regarding a hypersonic missile attack on the headquarters of the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
Earlier this month, the ICC issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin on suspicion of war crimes.
“We find such statements irresponsible and dangerous,” Rutte said.
“This also applies to the threat of placing nuclear weapons in Belarus,” he said, referring to Putin’s announced plans to place tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, which is an ally of Russia.
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