DThe federal government has granted an export license for Leopard 1 main battle tanks to the Ukraine. This was confirmed by government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit on Friday in Berlin, without giving any further details. So far, the federal government had only announced the delivery of the more modern Leopard 2 tanks from Bundeswehr stocks to Ukraine.
According to the “Süddeutsche Zeitung”, Rheinmetall and the Flensburger Fahrzeugbau Gesellschaft (FFG) want to prepare dozens of Leopard 1 tanks and could supply them to Ukraine for the fight against Russia. According to the report, however, there have been problems with the procurement of ammunition so far.
The Leopard 1 is the first main battle tank built for the German Army after World War II. It was produced between the mid 60’s and mid 80’s. The 14 Leopard 2 tanks promised last week are significantly more modern.
Hebestreit did not want to comment further on the delivery of the Leopard 1 from industrial stocks. “I don’t want to say much more at the moment, that will become more concrete in the next few days and weeks.”
Last week, the federal government decided to deliver 14 Leopard battle tanks from Bundeswehr stocks to Ukraine. In addition, it allowed other countries to supply such German-made battle tanks.
Ukraine had been demanding the delivery of these heavy systems for months in order to resist the Russian attack. According to the Ukrainian interpretation, main battle tanks would allow the armed forces to tear holes in the Russian defense front and launch major offensive operations. Following the Allies’ decision to make these weapon systems available to Kyiv, the discussion has now turned to the provision of combat aircraft.
Several states, such as Germany and the United States, have ruled that out — at least for now. Other countries such as France or the Netherlands have shown their willingness to at least examine a request from the Ukraine. However, Kiev’s wish list goes even further. It is said again and again that naval ships are also needed to secure the ports in the Black Sea.