Scholz confirms: Germany hands over 18 Leopard tanks to Ukraine
This was confirmed by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz at a press conference in Rotterdam after the German–Dutch governmental consultations, an Ukrinform correspondent reports.
"Yes, we delivered the tanks as promised," Scholz said in response to a request to confirm media reports that 18 Leopard 2A6 tanks had been delivered to Ukraine.
Scholz also reported that "Germany together with the Netherlands is preparing to hand over Leopard 1 tanks to Ukraine."
The Chancellor recalled that the two countries had jointly handed over Panzerhaubitze 2000 self-propelled howitzers, ammunition, etc. to Ukraine. Both countries also train the Ukrainian military, he emphasized.
According to Scholz, Germany is currently the largest supplier of weapons to Ukraine in mainland Europe. His country has transferred many modern weapons, in particular, air defense systems.
Currently, Berlin, together with its partners, is working to increase the production of ammunition, as well as to establish repair bases for damaged equipment in the countries neighboring Ukraine: Slovakia, Poland, and Romania.
Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte confirmed that the countries were working on joint projects to support Ukraine. This applies both to the transfer of weapons and ammunition and humanitarian issues, in particular, the return of illegally deported children, the prosecution of the guilty, and the payment of compensation.
According to Rutte, the Netherlands "does not see any taboos and cannot exclude anything" in the matter of supplying military equipment. But he warned against predictions because the countries inform about decisions, if they are adopted, after, not before.
As for the training of Ukrainian pilots, the Netherlands is intensively consulting with its partners, but "so far there have been no decisions on the training of pilots in the Netherlands." At the same time, Rutte noted that the discussions continued.
Both leaders underscored that their countries would support Ukraine in all aspects as long as it takes.
As reported, German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius promised that the armored vehicles would be handed over to Ukraine in the last week of March.
Earlier today, the Spiegel German media outlet wrote that the last tanks left Germany at the end of last week and were handed over at the Ukrainian border. Moreover, about 40 Marder IFVs are already in the combat zone.
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