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Slovakia to receive Leopard 2A4 tanks from Germany

Source: Ministry of Defence of the Slovak Republic

Slovakia will support Ukraine in its fight against the Russian aggression with 30 BVP-1 infantry fighting vehicles as part of drawdown of equipment from its reserve inventories in exchange for receiving 15 Leopard 2A4 tanks from Germany, Defence Minister Jaroslav Naď and State Secretary Marian Majer announced after their meeting with German State Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Defence Benedikt Zimmer in Bratislava on 23 August.

State Secretary Majer and State Secretary Zimmer added their signatures to a Letter of Intent to officially confirm this swap deal. “This deal will make it possible for the Slovak Republic to hand 30 BVP-1s over to Ukraine in exchange for 15 Leopard 2A4 tanks, which Germanyʼs defence industry will restore to a fully operational condition. As part of the package, we will also get ammunition, spare parts and complex crew training. The infantry fighting vehicles we will transfer to Ukraine are not directly from the Armed Forces structures, but from the reserve inventories appropriated for use for mobilisation purposes,” Minister Naď said.

The Leopard 2A4s will aid Slovakia’s efforts to stand up a full-fledged Tank Battalion in support of the SVK Army’s Heavy Mechanised Brigade, consistent with the NATO Capability Targets. Therefore, these assets will significantly strengthen the warfighting capability of the Heavy Mechanised Brigade as well as the defence capability of Slovakia. This will also prepare the ground for new areas of cooperation to forge further links between Slovakia and Germany. “Already today our bilateral cooperation in a number of areas is excellent,” Mr Naď said, delivering a personal message of gratitude to the German partners for deploying the DEU Patriot air defence capabilities and service personnel to Slovakia as part of the NATO Multinational Battlegroup.

German State Secretary Benedikt Zimmer appreciated the quality of SVK-DEU cooperation, saying: “This marks a very important day not only from the perspective of closer ties, which goes well over and above the issue of compensation for equipment. This cooperation is very good and I am pleased that with todayʼs Letter of Intent we can genuinely say it will grow from strength to strength.” State Secretary Zimmer went on to thank Slovakia for its steadfast support for Ukraine since the very beginning of Ukraine’s defence against Russia’s aggression.

As State Secretary Majer clarified, talks with the German side on the ring swap of equipment included several alternatives, including both the tanks and the infantry fighting vehicles. “As a result, information that may not yet have been fully correct has resurfaced. Nevertheless, Slovakiaʼs principal position is not to weaken the defence capability of the Slovak Republic. Although we want to help Ukraine to a maximum extent possible, this must not be done at the expense of our own defence capability,” Mr Majer explained. He then expressed his appreciation to the Federal Ministry of Defence for understanding this position.

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