Ukraine last week refused to take delivery of 10 Leopard 1A5 tanks from Germany because of their unsatisfactory technical condition, Der Spiegel reported.
The article reveals that Kyiv has informed the special command under the German Ministry of Defense that German weapons systems that arrived in Poland need to be repaired. However, as neither the necessary technical personnel nor spare parts are available, “there is no point in sending the Leopards to Ukraine”.
The statement from Kyiv has “raised concerns” in Berlin, the magazine notes. The German defense ministry urgently sent specialists to Poland to service the tanks. On the spot, it turned out that the tanks were indeed in need of repairs.
Earlier, German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius had promised to increase deliveries of repaired Leopard 1A5 tanks to Ukraine from July.
“By the end of the year there will be more than 100 of them,” the minister said.
However, prior to that, the president of the German Military-Political Society, Ralf Thiele, had criticized the tanks delivered to Ukraine, calling the Leopard 1 tanks “scrap metal.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a statement that the Leopard tanks and Bradley infantry fighting vehicles were “burning beautifully.”
The Leopard 1 tanks Ukraine is receiving in larger batches are inferior to Leopard 2 tanks, which are also in Ukraine’s arsenal, but in far fewer numbers. The Leopard 2 was touted as a game changer in the conflict, but so far, reports indicate the tank has performed poorly against Russian forces.