20230702 leopard
Leopard 2A4 tanks take part in a military training near Tata, Hungary. Image Credit: Reuters

Berlin: Ukraine will receive at least 100 Leopard 1 tanks from industrial stocks in the "coming months", the German, Dutch and Danish defence ministries said Tuesday.

The "required logistic support and training" will also be provided for the tanks, a predecessor to the more advanced Leopard 2 that has also been promised to Kyiv, they said in a joint statement.

The news came as German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius made a surprise visit to Kyiv, two weeks after Berlin agreed German-made Leopards could be sent to Ukraine to counter Russian forces.

The newly pledged deliveries came as part of a "new Leopard Initiative" agreed between Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark to support Ukraine.

The tank initiative would "complement the efforts already underway to support Ukraine with Leopard 2 main battle tanks", the three partners said, adding Belgium had also shown "initial interest" in joining.

In total, Germany had given the green light for up to 178 Leopard 1 A5 tanks to be sent to Ukraine out of industry stocks, the economy and defence ministries said in a statement.

The final number would "depend on the repair work required", the ministries said.

Berlin had already agreed last month to send 14 Leopard 2 A6 units to Ukraine from its military stocks, and approved the reexport of the battle tanks to Ukraine by allies.

The decision came after weeks of fraught talks between Western allies over the delivery of tanks to Ukraine.

However, concrete offers to provide the tanks from other countries have so far been few and far between.

Poland has pledged 14 Leopard 2 A4 tanks and Canada will send four, with Norway, Finland, Spain and Portugal also indicating they will take part but with no specific numbers.

"The help from Germany has come relatively quickly, we are waiting now on the agreement on the Leopard 2 A4" from partner countries, Pistorius told Welt daily in an interview.