Ukraine refused 10 Leopard tanks from Germany because they needed repairs and it didn’t have the technicians and parts to fix them, report says

Ukrainian soldiers work on the gun of a Leopard 1 A5 tank at a Bundeswehr site in Klietz, Germany, on May 5, 2023.

Klaus-Dietmar Gabbert/picture alliance via Getty Images

Ukraine refused to take 10 German Leopard tanks because they were in bad shape, per German media.
In the rush to get them out, issues of parts and maintenance were neglected, Der Spiegel reported.
Germany has committed 110 tanks to Ukraine as part of a $2.9 billion package.

Ukraine has rejected 10 Leopard tanks sent from Germany because they were in such poor condition, according to a new report. 

Authorities in Kyiv refused to import the group of Leopard 1A tanks on the grounds that they needed significant repairs, German newspaper der Speigel reported on Tuesday.

Ukraine lacks the spare parts and technical expertise to fix them, the outlet said.

Germany has committed to sending 110 tanks to Ukraine as part of a $2.9 billion military aid package announced in the spring. Most of these are Leopard 1As, the first of which began to arrive in July, The New York Times reported.

However, problems with the rollout have been well documented.

As of early August, German news outlet die Welt reported that just 10% of the country’s promised tanks to Ukraine had been delivered. (Insider shares a publisher, Axel Springer, with die Welt.) 

According to Forbes, a group of Leopard 1As also broke down immediately on arrival in Ukraine over the summer. 

Last used by Germany in 2000, the 1A model is an obsolete Cold War-era tank. However, per the NYT, it can still best the T-72 tank that has been used heavily by Russia in its invasion of Ukraine. 

After the German announcement, its army was quickly tasked with fixing up the tanks, which had been in storage, and Ukraine sent soldiers to be trained on their use, der Spiegel reported.

However, in the rush to get the tanks on the battlefield, it emerged that there were problems with getting the right spare parts, and training Ukrainian technicians on making repairs, the outlet reported.

The German Ministry of Defense did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment, and a spokesperson for Defense Minister Boris Pistorius refused to comment on the case to Der Speigel. 

Ukraine has held back much of its stock of heavy armored vehicles — many of which come from Western allies — during its counteroffensive, after highly-publicized losses early on.

Faced with strong defenses, Ukraine turned to weakening Russian forces with artillery fire and picking a way through minefields with sappers and infantry units, while holding tanks back until they have pierced the first layers of defense.

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