Four Leopard 2 main battle tanks will be supplied to Ukraine, announced Defence Minister Anita Anand on behalf of the government last Thursday.
Additionally, Canada will also provide ammunition and spare parts along with Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members to train Ukrainian soldiers on the tanks.
“During my visit to Ukraine last week, I told Ukraine’s Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov that Canada will continue to provide Ukraine with the military aid that it needs to fight and win. Today’s announcement is proof of our enduring commitment. In coordination with our Allies and partners, we will supply Leopard 2 tanks, sustainment, and training on their use in response to Ukraine’s urgent requests. Canada stands firmly with Ukraine in defence of freedom and democracy,” said Anand.
“Urgent” Request For Tanks
For several weeks now, Ukraine has been urgently requesting tanks. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov repeated their request again at the Ukraine Defense Contact Group in Germany.
The U.S. and other countries have complied even though they are faced with threats from Russia. Vladimir Putin and other Russian officials have warned of dire consequences for those supplying Ukraine.
“Canada’s donation is also the result of extensive coordination with Allies and partners, who are also planning to donate Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, among other Western battle tanks. Canada will work with like-minded Allies on discussions relating to tank fleet donations and a sustainment strategy for Ukraine,” stated a press release from the Department of National Defence.
Main Battle Tank of the CAF
According to DND, the Leopard 2 is the main battle tank of the Canadian Armed Forces and of several Allies and partners.
The vehicles provide soldiers with a tactical advantage on the battlefield with their mobility, firepower and survivability.
“The donation of Canadian Army Leopard 2 tanks, combined with donations by Allies and partners, will significantly help the Armed Forces of Ukraine as they fight heroically to defend their nation’s independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity,” stated the DND.
Canada has already committed more than $1 billion in military aid to Ukraine.
Anand’s announcement on Thursday is just weeks after the Defence Minister announced additional support in the form of an air defence system. Canada announced it would be purchasing a National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System (NASAMS) and associated munitions from the United States to donate to Ukraine.
Since Russia attacked Ukraine in early 2022, Canada has ramped up its support to Ukraine. Since February, Canada has committed more than $1 billion in military assistance. In addition, since March 2022, the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) has delivered military aid to Ukraine from Canada and on behalf of other Allies. In total, the CAF has transported more than six million pounds of military donations to date.
Additionally, under Operation UNIFIER, CAF personnel are deployed to the United Kingdom and Poland to train members of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.