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Tanks and combat vehicles: Slovakia and Germany sign swap deal in favour of Ukraine

German_army_Leopard_2_(_Weihnachtspanzer_)

Bratislava, Slovakia – Slovakia and Germany have agreed on a swap deal to arm Ukraine, Defence Minister Jaroslav Nad announced earlier this week after bilateral talks held in the Slovak capital.

Under the agreement, Slovakia will send 30 infantry fighting BVP-1 vehicles to Ukraine and receive 15 Leopard 2-A4 tanks from Germany in exchange.

The deal has been under negotiation for several months. Slovakia was initially expected to send its own T-72 tanks to Ukraine in exchange for the German-made Leopard models, but this option eventually fell through.

Quoted by Euractiv, security analyst Vladimír Bednár commented that “from the information provided by the ministry, it looks like a very good deal” for Slovakia.

After initially opposing sending heavy weapons to Ukraine for fear of escalation with Russia, Germany eventually changed course in May and agreed to provide military equipment directly to Kyiv.

Berlin’s policy reversal comes in addition to similar swap deals with other European and NATO allies, considered beneficial for Ukraine’s armed forces who are more familiar with Soviet-made military equipment used by Slovakia and some of its neighbours.

On Tuesday, Chancellor Olaf Scholz said that Germany would send €500 million worth of additional military material to Ukraine, with most deliveries expected in 2023 to support Ukraine “in the long term”.

Slovakia has since the start of Russia’s invasion been an active proponent of arming Ukraine, including by sending its own S-300 air defence system – a gap filled by a US-made Patriot defence battery – military helicopters, and self-propelled howitzers.

After reaching an agreement with the Czech Republic and Poland, who offered to patrol Slovakia’s airspace, Bratislava might also soon send its entire fleet of 12 MiG-29 fighter jets to bolster Ukraine’s air defence capabilities.

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