At a briefing at the Ukraine-Odessa Media Center, the Slovak Defense Minister spoke about his country’s plans to provide military assistance to Ukraine. According to Yaroslav Nagy, Slovakia is not yet discussing the transfer of Leopard 2 tanks, but is ready to transfer T-72 tanks if allied countries help to replace them. Slovakia is also ready to discuss the supply of MiG-29 fighters.
Russian T-72 captured by the Ukrainian military
“In the summer of 2022, we agreed with Germany that we could transfer 30 BMPs to Ukraine in exchange for 15 Leopards. In December 2022, we received only one tank. We expect that in March we will receive two more tanks, and we will receive them every month until we have all of them. But there are no negotiations on the transfer of Leopard from Slovakia to Ukraine,” the minister said, “We are ready to [Т-72] transfer to Ukraine even tomorrow, [если] we will get the necessary support from Western countries.”
The delivery of MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine technically looks more likely and soon – the aircraft are awaiting transfer at one of the military bases in Slovakia. However, such a step requires a government decision and agreement with the allies.
MiG-29 in the service of the Armed Forces
“The planes are now at one of the bases in Slovakia, and now we are ready to discuss the transfer of these planes to Ukraine. We are waiting for a decision from the government of Slovakia,” said Yaroslav Nagy, “We are discussing this now, we would like to transfer them to Ukraine.”
Slovak Foreign Minister Rastislav Kacher spoke about the transfer of fighter jets back in December. Since the beginning of autumn, the airspace of Slovakia has been guarded by the Polish air force, in accordance with an agreement between the countries. The agreement opened up the possibility of delivering the MiG-29 to Ukraine. In the future, Slovakia expects to receive modern Western fighters.
In addition, the Ottawa Citizen reports that Canada is ready to send Leopard tanks to Ukraine. The possibility of transportation and the exact number of tanks are now being discussed in the Canadian armed forces. According to insiders, Royal Canadian Air Force transport planes are ready to deliver Leopards to Poland for further transportation to Ukraine.
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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau noted that he could not yet make any official announcements about tank deliveries, but cautiously hinted that new information could soon appear:
“As you well know, Canada is always trying to do everything possible to help Ukraine,” Trudeau told reporters. “We hope that in the next few days we will have something to share.”
The Canadian Forces have 112 Leopard 2 tanks in their fleet. Some of the combat vehicles are for training, some are armored recovery vehicles. They can restore disabled tanks, as well as provide sapper support.
Military sources say Canada hopes to deliver at least 10 Leopard 2s, if not more. Retired Chief of Defense Staff General Rick Hillier said the Canadian Army should donate 50 of its Leopard 2 tanks.
According to Defense Minister Anita Anand, the Canadian government provided $5 billion worth of aid and weapons to Ukraine after the Russian invasion on February 24, 2022.
Germany’s announcement of the delivery of 14 Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine and permission to re-export them, as well as the decisions of the United States and Great Britain to transfer 31 Abrams M1 tanks and 14 Challenger 2 units, removed the restriction for the supply of tanks to Ukraine in front of other countries. It is preliminary known that the tanks are ready to transfer up to 13 states. France is assessing the possibility of transferring Leclerc tanks to Ukraine, Sweden is ready to share its modification of the Leopard 2A5 – Stridsvagn 122. It is quite possible that after the lifting of the unspoken embargo, those countries that have not previously announced this will share tanks.
Leopard tanks – generations and modifications, relevance for Ukraine, probability of deliveries
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