German defence minister makes surprise Kyiv visit

Germany's new defence minister, Boris Pistorius, made an unscheduled visit to Kyiv on Tuesday, two weeks after Berlin agreed to provide Leopard tanks to help Ukraine counter Russian forces.

Kyiv visit
Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Kay Nietfeld

Ukraine’s outgoing defence minister Oleksiy Reznikov tweeted a photo of him and Pistorius holding a model replica of the tank. A defence ministry spokesman confirmed the photo was taken in the Ukraine capital on Tuesday.

“Thank you to @Bundeskanzler my colleague Boris Pistorius and the German people. The tank coalition is marching… to victory!” Reznikov wrote.

Germany’s decision to provide 14 Leopard tanks came after weeks of intense pressure from Kyiv and many of Berlin’s European allies.
It also gave approval for other European countries to send the German-made tanks from their own stocks to Ukraine, and the United States later said it would send its Abrams tanks while Britain promised its Challenger models.

READ ALSO: Germany gives greenlight for Leopold tank deliveries to Ukraine

In all, Ukraine says it expects between 120 and 140 modern Western tanks as the country braces for a new Russian offensive possibly in the coming weeks.

Pistorius has said the first Leopards could arrive in Ukraine in late March or early April.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


German firm in talks to build tank plant in Ukraine

Arms manufacturer Rheinmetall is holding "promising" talks to build a tank factory in Ukraine following the Russian invasion, the head of the Germany company said in an interview published Saturday.

German firm in talks to build tank plant in Ukraine

“A Rheinmetall factory could be built in Ukraine at a cost of about 200 million euros,” ($213 million) to turn out up to 400 Panther tanks a year, the firm’s president Armin Papperger told the Rheinische Post newspaper.

He added that he expected a decision on the plan in two months, saying such a site could be protected from Russian attack by an air defence system.

Ukraine wants between 600 and 800 tanks to drive Russian troops out of the country, and it wants them quickly.

“Even if Germany offered the Bundeswehr’s 300 Leopard 2 tanks, it would be nowhere near enough,” he said, referring to the German army.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz came under fire for delaying a decision on supplying Ukraine with German Leopard assault tanks before agreeing at the end of January.

Berlin has agreed to supply 18 Leopard 2 A6s from the Bundeswehr and approved the re-export of German-made Leopards to Ukraine from other states, including Sweden, Finland, Portugal and Poland.

The plan would see more than 30 Leopards shipped to Kyiv.

Rheinmetall is also working to line up nearly 250 tanks, many going to the Czech Republic and Slovakia to replace Russian-made armoured vehicles, as well as to theĀ  Bundeswehr and Ukraine, said Papperger.