German minister: First battalion of Leopard 2 tanks could reach Ukraine in March/April
WARSAW (Reuters) - Western partners could deliver the first battalion of Leopard 2 battle tanks to Ukraine in the first three or four months of this year, German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius said on Wednesday on a trip to the Polish capital.
"We could deliver at least one battalion in the first four months of this year - three months maybe - and then we need to proceed as fast as possible of course," Pistorius said, adding that a battalion would consist of about 31 tanks.
Almost a year after Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Poland and Germany were united in their responsibility to support Kyiv, said Pistorius, adding that the two countries had agreed to next week meet partners who may deliver Leopard 2 tanks.
Responding to repeated appeals from Ukraine, and after mounting pressure from some Western allies, Germany last month said it would deliver modern Leopard 2 battle tanks from army stocks.
It will also pool funds with Denmark and the Netherlands to restore at least 100 old Leopard 1 tanks from industry stocks for Ukraine.
Pistorius, who paid a surprise visit to Kyiv on Tuesday, said Germans looked with humility at the determination with which Ukrainians were fighting.
(Reporting by Marek Strzelecki; Writing by Madeline Chambers and Friederike Heine; Editing by Miranda Murray)