Canada is sending four combat-ready battle tanks, alongside deploying Canadian Armed Forces members to walk Ukrainian troops through their use, Defence Minister Anita Anand stated on Thursday.
“In response to Ukraine’s urgent request for tanks, I announced today that Canada is sending four combat-ready Leopard 2 main battle tanks to Ukraine in the coming weeks. This announcement also includes ammunition, spare parts, and the deployment of @CanadianForces trainers,” the Defence Minister tweeted.
“Leopard 2 main battle tanks will significantly assist Ukraine’s efforts to defend itself. These heavily armoured and highly protected vehicles provide soldiers with a tactical advantage on the battlefield, thanks to their excellent mobility, firepower, and survivability,” Minister Anand added in another tweet.
The tanks will be delivered in “in the coming weeks”, the training for which is scheduled to happen in another country, Minister Anand detailed.
The decision by the liberal government comes soon after top officials, on multiple occasions, chose to stay mum on the topic of Leopard 2 thanks. Over the past few, weeks, the allies, especially Germany, were subject to pressure to deliver Leopard 2s to Ukraine amid the war with Ukraine, media reports suggest.
Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland, while at the PM Trudeau-led federal government retreat on Tuesday, asserted that Ukraine’s win in the war against Russia in 2023 will be a “big boost” to the global economy at large, as well as Canada’s economy. Freeland, however, echoing other top Federal officials so far, did not say whether Canada would supply Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine or not.
On Monday, the government of Poland stated that it will send tanks to Ukraine after approval of a formal application from Germany, which the latter nation stated it will approve.
“Today’s donation is the result of extensive coordination with Allies and partners who are also donating Western battle tanks – and we will continue to work with our Allies on donations and sustainment. Canada stands firmly with Ukraine in defence of freedom and democracy,” Minister Anand stated on Thursday.
It may be pertinent to note that back in 2007, the Canadian Armed Forces acquired 112 Leopard 2s from Germany during the peak of the Afghanistan war. Currently, according to media outlets, Canada possesses 82 German-made Leopard 2 battle tanks.
Canada would reportedly be sending tanks of the Leopard 2A4s variant to Ukraine.