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Norway to send eight Leopard tanks to Ukraine

AFP
AFP - [email protected]
Norway to send eight Leopard tanks to Ukraine
Polish and Ukrainian soldiers are seen on a Leopard 2 A4 tank during a training at the Swietoszow Military Base in Swietoszow, western Poland on February 13, 2023. (Photo by Wojtek RADWANSKI / AFP)

Norway's government said Tuesday it would donate eight of its Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, fulfilling a previous commitment and joining a slew of Western countries to pledge heavier weapons to Ukraine.

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The Norwegian army currently has 36 Leopard 2 tanks in service. "Norway will donate eight tanks and up to four support vehicles to Ukraine. In addition, we are earmarking funds for ammunition and spare parts," Defence Minister Bjorn Arild Gram said, telling Norwegian media it would happen soon.

Gram said 250 million Norwegian kroner ($24.8 million) would be put towards ammunition and spare parts for Leopard 2 tanks through the EU's Ukraine fund, the European Peace Facility.

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"The situation in Ukraine is approaching a critical phase and they need swift and comprehensive Western support," the minister said. Gram said Norway would "also contribute to the education and training of Ukrainian tank crews in Poland, together with other allied countries".

Germany recently gave the green light for the modern German-made tanks to be sent to Ukraine after a tireless campaign by Kyiv and other countries. It agreed to send 14 Leopard 2 units from its own military stocks and approved the re-export of the battle tanks to Ukraine by allies.

Poland has also pledged 14 tanks and Canada will send four, with Finland, Spain and Portugal indicating they will take part but with no specific numbers.

Last Wednesday, German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius said Berlin and its allies aim to deliver a first battalion of tanks by April, and others would follow later this year and next.

Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands have also promised that Ukraine would get at least 100 older Leopard 1 tanks in the "coming months".

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