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Ukraine conflict: Germany to backfill Slovakia with Leopard 2 MBTs

Germany has signed a letter of intent with Slovakia to supply the latter with 15 Leopard 2A4 MBTs to backfill for 30 BMP-1 IFVs being transferred to Ukraine. (Bundeswehr/Marco Dorow)

State Secretary in the German Ministry of Defence (MoD) Benedikt Zimmer has signed a letter of intent (LOI) with his Slovak counterpart Marian Majer for Slovakia to receive 15 Leopard 2A4 main battle tanks (MBTs) to backfill for 30 BMP-1 infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) being transferred to Ukraine, their two MoDs announced on their websites on 23 August.

The tanks will come from German industry, which will overhaul them before they are delivered to Slovakia starting this year. The LOI includes a munition, training, and logistic package.

Slovak Defence Minister Jaroslav Naď said after the LOI was signed that the BMP-1s would come from reserve stocks meant for mobilisation, so their transfer to Ukraine will not affect the readiness of the Armed Forces of the Slovak Republic. The Leopard 2A4s will equip a tank battalion for a heavy mechanised brigade Slovakia is forming to meet NATO requirements.

The Slovak MoD expects the LOI to open new areas of co-operation with Germany, which includes the deployment of Luftwaffe Patriot air-defence systems and the participation of German soldiers in the Czech-led multinational NATO High Vigilance Battlegroup in Slovakia, Naď noted.

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