Polish and Ukrainian soldiers are seen on a Leopard 2 A4 tank during a training at the Swietoszow Military Base in Swietoszow, western Poland on February 13, 2023InternationalIndiaAfricaOleg BurunovGermany along with several other NATO members had previously provided Kiev with Leopard-2 tanks as part of its military aid to Kiev amid the ongoing Russian special military operation in Ukraine. Moscow has repeatedly warned that such assistance would only prolong the conflict.The Leopard 2 tanks, which Western countries had earlier delivered to Ukraine, have been tracked by Russian forces on the battlefield in the Kherson area, an officer from a volunteer battalion has told Sputnik.
The officer, who only revealed his call sign, the Bull, referred to the Leopard 2s shelling Russian troops’ checkpoints in the area, also singling out “a story from colleagues”, who he said had captured one of those tanks.
According to him, a Russian subversive group had to sink the Leopard 2 in a swamp after they failed to drag it to the rear following the seizure.He spoke a few weeks after German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said that his country was not going to send additional Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine. Germany, like other countries, has a “limited supply” of weapons, Pistorius said, noting that he “cannot give everything away.”After that, Ukraine received 18 Leopard 2s from Germany and some 40 German-made Marder armored infantry fighting vehicles.In January, Berlin said it planned to send its Leopard 2A6 main battle tanks to Ukraine, also agreeing to provide re-export licenses for other countries willing to supply these German-made armored vehicles.Since then, Warsaw, Ottawa, Lisbon, and Oslo have also said they could deliver various modernizations of Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, with up to 14 tanks coming from Poland, four such vehicles from Canada, three Leopard 2s from Portugal, and eight from Norway.The delivery of the tanks came as Western countries ramped up their military aid to Kiev shortly after Russia began its special military operation in Ukraine. The Russian Foreign Ministry said that NATO countries “play with fire” by supplying weapons to Kiev, and that any convoy of arms for Ukraine will become a legitimate target for Russian forces. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, for his part, underscored that NATO allies’ arming and training Ukrainian forces amounts to direct involvement in the standoff.RussiaRussia Rolls Out Combat Robot to ‘Detect and Destroy’ Leopard 2, Abrams Tanks Sent to Ukraine26 January, 11:32 GMT