Scholz: Germany delivered Leopard tanks to Ukraine
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced Monday that his country has delivered Leopard heavy tanks to Ukraine, an advanced weapon he believes will greatly help Ukrainian forces repel the Russian invasion.
“Yes, we have delivered Leopard tanks,” Scholz said at a press conference in Rotterdam, confirming information published by Der Spiegel magazine that Berlin had delivered 18 Leopard-2 tanks to Kiev.
For its part, the German Ministry of Defense indicated that in addition to Leopard tanks, ammunition and spare parts, two “Puffle” armored vehicle vehicles were supplied to Ukraine.
The ministry said in a statement that it had previously supplied Ukraine with 40 “Marder” armored personnel carriers.
“Our tanks arrived, as promised, at the appointed time, and are now in the hands of our Ukrainian friends,” the statement quoted Defense Minister Boris Pistorius as saying.
“I am sure it will make a difference on the field,” Petsourios added.
After being pressured from all sides to deliver Leopard-2 tanks to Kiev, Angela Merkel’s successor agreed at the end of January to ship the tanks from Germany.
Berlin announced that it would deliver these tanks in the end of March and the beginning of April.
Ukrainian soldiers in German bases underwent a training course on operating these heavy tanks.
On Monday, the German and Dutch governments held a bilateral meeting in the coastal city of Rotterdam.
Scholz and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte discussed military support for Ukraine and their unique military cooperation, and even touched on merging some units of the two armies.
When asked at a joint press conference about the recent Russian threat to target the International Criminal Court in the Netherlands with missile strikes, the Dutch prime minister said, “This type of statement is irresponsible and dangerous”.
Rutte stressed that the Russian nuclear threat is not new, denouncing Moscow’s declaration of its intention to deploy tactical nuclear weapons on the territory of Belarus.
“With our partners in NATO, we are closely monitoring the situation, but the matter isn’t limited to threatening rhetoric, and Russia is aware that the consequences will be great if they uses this type of weapon,” he said.