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Confusion about Denmark and The Netherlands giving 14 additional Leopard 2A4 tanks to Ukraine

The transfer of Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine was announced by the governments of Denmark and the Netherlands on April 20, 2023. However, some aspects of the announcement raised suspicions regarding the number, modernization, and terms of the transfer. Defence Express noted that Ukraine would receive 14 Leopard 2A4 tanks from Denmark and the Netherlands, which would undergo refurbishment by Rheinmetall.
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Leopard 2A4 of the Dutch army (Picture source: Martin Bos/Netherlands MoD)

The German publication Handelsblatt reported this news, citing its own sources. The information quickly spread among Ukrainian mass media, with some sources incorrectly stating that the tanks were added to the ones announced earlier. In reality, the 14 Leopard 2A4 tanks mentioned in the news were the same tanks announced by the Danish government on April 20. The number of tanks and the delivery timeline matched, with the tanks expected to arrive in Ukraine no earlier than the beginning of 2024. The German publication also confirmed the same timeline, tank version (Leopard 2), and quantity. Therefore, it seems unlikely that Denmark and the Netherlands have decided to add 14 new Leopard 2A4 tanks to the transfer.

Let us recall that, the Dutch government on April 20 announced that, together with Denmark, the Netherlands is to purchase 14 Leopard 2A4 tanks for Ukraine. These tanks will be delivered after first undergoing an overhaul. Delivery of the tanks to the Ukrainian army is expected to take place in 2024. The Netherlands is part of the international tank coalition established to provide Ukraine with modern battle tanks. The Netherlands previously purchased Leopard 1 tanks for Ukraine, together with Denmark and Germany. The Netherlands and Denmark will share the costs for the purchase of the Leopard 2 A4 tanks. These costs amount to approximately €165 million.

However, there remains hope among some that the announcement refers to an additional 14 Leopard 2A4 tanks. It is worth noting that in their April statement, the Danish government mentioned financing the restoration and transfer of approximately 100 Leopard 1A5 tanks to Ukraine, with 80 units scheduled for transfer by the end of 2023. This number coincides with the number of tanks to be refurbished by Rheinmetall, which is 88.

Defense News June 2023

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