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Slovakia aims for another Leopard ring exchange

According to Defense Minister Jaroslav Naď, Slovakia could immediately make its T-72 tanks available to Ukraine in exchange for German-made Leopard 2 tanks.

European NATO members recently agreed to arm Ukraine with their tanks, most notably the Leopard 2. While the delivery of the Leopard 2 tanks will take weeks to months, the Slovakian tanks are ready for action almost immediately.

“Ukraine needs tanks as soon as possible, but western countries can usually deliver them [only] in a few months. We can deploy our T-72 immediately,” Defense Minister Naď told Denník N.

The Slovak Armed Forces have thirty T-72 tanks. Naď suggested to the NATO partners that he could either provide the Ukrainians with all thirty pieces or only half of them.

“We have offered our partners that we can deliver our T-72 tanks in exchange for Leopard 2 tanks at a one-to-one ratio,” confirmed Naď.

If Ukrainians were given Slovak T-72 tanks instead of Leopards, they would get lower-quality equipment, but they would get it immediately, argues Naď.

A familiar argument that one could hear similarly from Berlin for months.

They could fight with Slovak tanks by March at the latest, when a major Russian offensive is expected. “Given that speed is the key factor at the moment, I would consider such a deal fair,” says Naď.

Another advantage is that Ukrainians are used to T-72 tanks, since machines of this type form the core of their heavy mechanized units. They know how to operate them and offer them service support.

The Slovakian ministry already signed an agreement with Germany last year under which it will receive fifteen older Leopard 2 tanks in exchange for thirty old BVP-1 vehicles in Ukraine.

If the German government agrees to such a swap for T-72 tanks, the Slovak armored forces would be almost completely equipped with Western technology in a short time.

Source : Euractiv



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