Most German tanks given to Ukraine no longer working – MP
Very few of the Leopard 2A6 battle tanks given to Ukraine by Germany remain in service, Green Party MP Sebastian Schafer has claimed. Many of the tanks are battle damaged and spare parts are reportedly in short supply, he added.
Berlin announced the delivery of 18 Leopard 2A6 tanks to Ukraine back in March, after months of pleading from Kiev. Hailed as a ‘game-changer’ by pro-Ukraine pundits, the 2A6 tanks are among the most modern in Germany’s arsenal. However, most are currently sitting inert in a repair shop in Lithuania, Schafer explained in a letter this week to arms companies Rheinmetall and Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW), seen by Germany’s DPA news agency.
“Unfortunately, it has to be noted that only a very small number of the battle tanks delivered can now be used by Ukraine,” Schafer wrote, explaining that there is “an urgent need for action” to get spare parts to the Lithuanian repair hub and get the tanks back in action.
Apart from damage sustained in battle, many of the tanks are out of operation due to wear and tear, while some have been further damaged by Ukrainian mechanics attempting repairs, he added.
In addition to the 18 2A6 tanks, Germany and other operators of the Leopard platform have provided Ukraine with around 90 of the earlier 2A4 variants, and more than 100 outdated Leopard 1A5 variants. Within weeks of their arrival on the battlefield earlier this year, Russian forces had destroyed some of them with missiles and kamikaze drones, while at least two Leopard 2s have been captured intact by Russian troops.
Back in November, Forbes reported that Kiev had lost “a quarter of its best German-made tanks,” referring to its Leopard 2s.
The Leopards were used extensively during Ukraine’s summer counteroffensive, a failed operation aimed at punching through Russian lines and seizing the city of Melitopol on the Azov Sea, thereby cutting off Crimea from 'mainland' Russia. As it transpired, Ukrainian forces only managed to seize a handful of villages in the region of Zaporozhye, losing nearly 160,000 men and 16,000 pieces of heavy equipment in the process, according to the latest figures from the Russian Defense Ministry.
Ukraine is currently facing not just a shortage of German-designed tanks, but a shortage of personnel to operate them, Die Welt reported last month. With Kiev struggling to mobilize troops to replace almost 400,000 lost since February 2022, German training centers for Ukrainian soldiers who will operate Leopard 2 tanks are currently working at half capacity, the German outlet claimed.