Following Germany’s transfer of 18 modern Leopard 2A6 battle tanks to Ukraine in March 2023 as part of assistance against Russian aggression, reports reveal a prolonged repair period hindering their prompt return to combat readiness, according to Carsten Hoffmann from t-online.de.
According to the report, the Green Party’s budget expert, Sebastian Schäfer, alongside Defense Minister Boris Pistorius, visited the industrial repair hub in Lithuania before Christmas to assess the repair situation. In letters addressed to the involved defense companies, Rheinmetall and Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW), Schäfer highlighted concerns about the diminishing operational status of the supplied Ukrainian tanks.
Originally delivered to reinforce Ukraine’s defense against Russian incursion, the tanks have encountered battle damages and substantial wear resulting from operational usage.
Hopes that these modern tanks could facilitate Ukrainian strategic offensives to penetrate fortified Russian lines have fallen short.
Extended repair durations post-combat engagements are a pressing issue, attributed in part to shortages of suitable spare parts. Schäfer urges swift actions to improve the spare parts supply and considers enhancing mechanic training or providing repair guidelines to mitigate damages caused by Ukrainian repair attempts.
Questioning the necessity of transporting faulty tanks to Lithuania for maintenance, Schäfer stresses the need to establish repair capabilities within Ukraine for the complex Leopard 2 systems, raising concerns about the extensive logistics involved in transporting tanks to Lithuania.
While Lithuania has proven a reliable partner for German politics and military collaborations, challenges persist in military cooperation projects for repairing weapon systems for Ukraine in Poland and Slovakia.
Schäfer emphasizes the need to expand support for Ukraine amid potential decreases in aid from the United States. He asserts Germany should increase its contributions and advocates for the delivery of Taurus long-range cruise missiles from the Bundeswehr inventory to strengthen Ukraine’s defense against Putin’s forces.
Amid Ukraine’s challenging situation, Schäfer insists on bolstering support and calls for a shift towards heightened assistance, underscoring the necessity for Germany to provide substantial aid proportional to its economic prowess.