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Ukraine conflict: Canada to ship Leopard 2s to Ukraine

The Canadian Department of National Defence announced on 26 January that Canada would contribute four Leopard 2A4 MBTs to Ukraine. (Rheinmetall Canada)

Canada will follow Germany's lead and send four Leopard 2 main battle tanks (MBTs) to Ukraine, the minister of national defence announced on 26 January.

The Canadian Armed Forces will provide Leopard 2A4 tanks and training on how to use them, and could send more pending maintenance and sustainment discussions, said Defence Minister Anita Anand during a televised briefing. She said the Leopard 2s are “battle ready” and can be deployed over the next few weeks.

“The four tanks that we just announced will be going as soon as possible,” she said.

Donations plans are flexible as the number of tanks could grow after co-ordinating with allies' donation and sustainment plans, she said. However, the readiness levels of the Canadian Army are still a factor in how many tanks ultimately go to Europe, as the tanks are being drawn from the Canadian Armed Forces inventory.

“There is a possibility that this number could grow based on the conversations that I am having with our allies,” she said. Canada will also send trainers to Europe to train maintainers, drivers, loaders, tank crew, and commanders, she added.

A continued flow of spare parts for the tanks will be important for the effectiveness of Canada's donation. The complexity of the tank remains a challenge, but Canada will discuss pooling spare parts and ammunition with allies, Anand said.

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