Germany calls for urgent replacement of Leopard 2 tanks – DW – 02/01/2023 / German News

German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said on Wednesday that Germany needs to urgently order new Leopard 2 tanks to replace the ones that have been earmarked for delivery to Ukraine.

“For me, the crucial fact is that we have to order new tanks, not in a year, but swiftly, so that production can begin,” he told reporters while visiting the tank battalion that is set to send 14 Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine .

Responding to a question of how the German government would fund the procurement of more tanks, Pistorius said, “Frankly, I don’t care. It is essential that we can provide them quickly.”

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced a massive €100 billion ($109 billion) fund to modernize the German military following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February last year.

Reversing course, US, Germany to send tanks to Ukraine

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New defense minister looks to boost supplies

Pistorius — who was only appointed to his position in January after the resignation of his predecessor — has said his focus is on ramping up procurement of arms and ammunition.

On Tuesday, the minister held talks with representatives from the defense industry.

“It was about figuring out who can do what — and what do both sides expect from each other,” he said of the meeting, adding that future meetings had been agreed on.

First troop visit for Germany’s defense minister

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Germany has traditionally shied away from high defense spending in recent years. It has regularly failed to hit the 2% defense spending budget target set by NATO and was €20 billion short of reaching ammunition stockpile targets even before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Training to begin soon

Pistorius said that the training of Ukrainian soldiers to use the Leopard 2 tanks would begin soon in the small northern German town of Munster.

He added that the soldiers would only be given a rundown on the most important aspects of the tanks and not a full in-depth training.

Alongside the 14 tanks that will be delivered to Ukraine, a further five have been put in reserve in case anything happens to the tanks during the training.

An example of what can go wrong was given in a separate incident on Wednesday when two Puma infantry fighting vehicles crashed into each other during a training session in the state of Saxony-Anhalt. As a result, 12 soldiers were wounded, with one suffering serious injuries.

from/nm (Reuters, AFP, dpa)

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