Ukraine to get battle tanks as part of swap deal by EU nations — Analysis
Germany and Slovenia reached an agreement that Kiev would receive Soviet-made tanks.
Kiev will receive battle tanks from Slovenia. “in the coming days”As part of the swap agreement between Berlin and Ljubljana, Christine Lambrecht, German Defense Minister confirmed Thursday. According to reports, Slovenia will hand over many Soviet-made pieces of heavy equipment to Ukraine as part of a swap deal with Berlin and Ljubljana.
“It’s about tanks, it’s about armored personnel carriers, it’s about different options that individual countries have to hand over,” Lambrecht told German broadcaster RTL. While the minister could not give details on the equipment that each side had to turn over in the framework of the agreement, she said that Ukraine should be receiving the shipment. “in the next few days.”
According to France’s AFP and Germany’s dpa news agencies, Slovenia is to deliver the Soviet-made T-72 main battle tanks to Kiev and receive Marder IFVs and Fuchs APCs from Berlin. Lambrecht explained that the idea of this deal was to provide Ukraine with as much usable equipment as possible.
“The important thing is that you can do things quickly and that the weapons can be delivered quickly.”She added that Central and Eastern European stocks from the Soviet era are the best for such plans since they provide military equipment “requires no training”Ukrainians are familiar with this type of equipment.
Euractiv reports that Ljubljana may deliver up to 30 T-72 tanks from Ljubljana to Ukraine in the framework of this deal. Slovenia has yet to comment on this arrangement. Ljubljana admitted on Wednesday that Matej Tonin (Defense Minister) had communicated with Lambrecht by video chat.
“They discussed how allied countries can help Ukraine to defend itself against Russian aggression, and from this aspect, different ways in which Slovenia and Germany can jointly help Ukraine,”According to the Slovenian Defense Ministry,
Some media reports claim that Slovenia doesn’t have the Soviet-made T-72 tank tanks. Instead, it has the Yugoslavian M-84 tanks. These tanks are modified versions of the Soviet one.
Since the Russian military operations on Ukraine’s territory began in February, the West has been providing arms to Ukraine. Small arms, fuel munitions, and anti-tank missiles were the most common types of arms delivered to Ukraine. Kiev requested heavy weaponry like tanks and warplanes, which the Western countries have been reluctant to give. Prague has not confirmed reports that the Czech Republic sent tanks to Ukraine.
Top Ukrainian officials, including the country’s president Volodymyr Zelensky and ambassador to Germany, Andrey Melnik, have been particularly critical of the German government for its failure to provide Kiev with heavy weaponry. According to the German media, Chancellor Olaf Scholz and his Social Democratic party have been skeptical about the idea of supplying Ukraine with heavy arms while their coalition partners – the Green Party and the Free Democrats – have been in favor of more robust support.
Annalena Baerbock, the German foreign minister, revealed earlier this week that Germany had supplied more weapons to Ukraine than was previously reported. She also cited the urgent need to get them there. The minister said that the supplies comprised anti-tank and air-defense Stinger missiles.
Berlin also reportedly plans to spend an additional €2 billion ($2.16 billion) on military needs, most of which is aimed at providing supplies to Ukraine, according to Reuters. At the same time, Germany’s parliamentary commissioner for the Armed Forces, Eva Hoegl, has warned that Berlin cannot just send Ukraine anything it has in its stocks and admitted that the German army itself is still undersupplied when it comes both to heavy equipment and personal weapons.
Russia attacked its neighboring state in late February, following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. French and German protocols were created to provide special status for the Ukrainian states that had separated from the state.
In recent years, the Kremlin demands that Ukraine declares itself neutral in order to be able to join NATO. Kiev claims that the Russian invasion was unprovoked. It also denies any plans to take the republics with force.