Portugal will send Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine

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The Prime Minister assured, this Saturday, that Portugal will give Leopard 2 tanks to the Ukrainian Armed Forces and said that a logistic operation is currently underway with Germany for the recovery of some combat vehicles.

This decision by the Portuguese government was conveyed by António Costa to the Lusa news agency at the end of a visit he made to the Portuguese military mission in the Central African Republic, where he also tried to stress that sending tanks to Ukraine will not jeopardize the national military capacity in terms of equipment.

“We are working right now to be able to afford to dispense with some of our tanks. I know how many tanks that will be, but that will be announced at the proper time,” the executive leader said.

According to the Prime Minister, Portugal is currently working with Germany to “enable a logistical operation to supply parts, with a view to completing the recovery of some of the [combat] cars that were not operational.

“An operation that is intended to give Ukraine some tanks, without, of course, Portugal leaving its military capacity intact. Obviously, Portugal also has obligations within the framework of NATO, which we cannot fail to meet in terms of availability of equipment for interventions in case of need,” he warned.

Asked about the most likely time when these Leopard 2 tanks can be sent to Ukrainian territory, António Costa noted that “the movement that is underway in Europe is towards having all these means available by the end of March.

On the controversy related to the fact that several of these Leopard 2 tanks, acquired by the national armed forces in 2007, have been without maintenance for many years, the Prime Minister countered that the expression “many years is an exaggeration.

“Some are not operational and, for this very reason, we have to work simultaneously with those who produce to ensure the necessary supply chain, in order to recover tanks that we currently have inoperable and to be able to dispense operational tanks, leaving us with our own capacity properly safeguarded. This is the logistical operation that is underway,” he justified.

Still on the issue of the inoperability of some of the Leopard 2 tanks, António Costa made the following observation: “It’s not only in automobile parts that there is a lack of components.

“Also for military equipment there has been a shortage of components. That logistical operation is underway and we have been working very closely with Germany. In time, we will be able to make our contribution to this collective effort to provide Ukraine with better means for its defense,” he added.

As far as bilateral cooperation with Ukraine is concerned, the Prime Minister highlighted Portugal’s sending of war material, but also the sending of humanitarian material and humanitarian aid, namely in terms of refugee reception.

“We have also given emergency support to the Ukrainian budget and there are ongoing programs with the Ukrainian government for the reconstruction of schools in one province. We also have the effort that resulted from the repositioning of military forces within the NATO framework and which had as a consequence the reinforcement of the eastern flank where Portugal is now reinforced in Romania,” he pointed out.

António Costa also said that in the coming months an Air Police mission will go to Lithuania. “This situation is allowing a greater involvement. For example, Romania is sending forces to participate in the Minusca operation in the Central African Republic. It is not exactly a quid pro quo, but it is also within the framework of the cooperation that we have developed with Romania,” he added.

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