Netherlands to purchase Leopard 1 tanks for Ukraine
Together with Denmark and Germany, the Netherlands will supply at least 100 Leopard 1A5 main battle tanks to Ukraine. This trio of countries will also supply spare parts and ammunition. The Netherlands Ministry of Defence also wishes to provide instructors in order to contribute to training. This is what Minister of Defence Kajsa Ollongren and Minister of Foreign Affairs Wopke Hoekstra wrote to the House of Representatives today.
Together with Germany and Denmark, the Netherlands will purchase the Leopard 1A5s directly from German industry. The tanks are refurbished ones that were in storage. The Leopard 1A5 is a modernised version of the Leopard 1A1 and the predecessor of the Leopard 2.
According to Minister Ollongren, the war in Ukraine is in a crucial phase. She expects the fighting to intensify in the coming months. Russia is continuing its mobilisation and there are signs that it is preparing a new offensive. The minister therefore believes that supplying main battle tanks is of importance in maintaining Ukraine’s staying power and improving its position on the battlefield. As the minister stated, it is ultimately about ensuring Ukraine’s existence as a sovereign state.
The ministries of defence of Germany and the Netherlands have for some time been exploring with German industry the options that are available for supplying tanks to Ukraine. Because they are made in Germany, Germany must grant users permission if they wish to send their Leopards of this type to Ukraine. This permission was recently granted. The number of tanks that will be supplied in addition to the 100 depends on the refurbishment of the tanks in stock in German industry.
The provision of Leopard 1A5s is separate from the initiative to make the modern Leopard 2A6 available to Ukraine. Discussions on this matter are still ongoing. The defence ministers of the countries that are supporting Ukraine militarily will meet again in Brussels on 14 February prior to the meeting of NATO defence ministers. The Leopard 2 matter will then be further discussed.