Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy (right) and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte during talks in Kyiv, February 17, 2023.
Kyiv – The Netherlands will send the first delivery of German Leopard 1 tanks to Ukraine as soon as possible, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said in Kyiv. He held talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in the Ukrainian capital.
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“As soon as the first group (of Leopard tanks) is ready for combat, we will deliver it to Ukraine, we want to do so as soon as possible,” said Rutte.
The delivery of at least 100 Leopards 1 at the beginning of February was promised by the Netherlands together with Denmark and Germany. Berlin also promised more modern Leopard 2 tanks in January, following pressure from the allies, and allowed these German-made machines to be handed over to Kyiv and other countries. The Netherlands, which is leasing these modern tanks from the German side, said this week that none of them will now go to Ukraine, as Kiev's needs can be met with tanks from other sources.
“We agree with the Netherlands that supplying weapons to our country, our Ukraine, should not be taboo, because they support and protect our sovereignty,” Zelenskyy said shortly before the start of the Munich Security Conference. He then addressed its participants via video link.
Kyiv repeatedly calls on allied Western countries to speed up and increase the supply of weapons to Ukraine. At the moment, in order to push the Russian troops on the eastern front, he is particularly demanding fighter jets, additional tanks and weapons with a longer range. According to observers, Russian troops are trying to launch a new offensive in several places on the first anniversary of the invasion of the country.