In a significant move aimed at bolstering Ukraine’s defense capabilities, Denmark has successfully delivered the first batch of Danish Leopard 1A5 main battle tanks to Ukraine. Ten of these formidable tanks have already reached Ukrainian soil, with more on the way. This strategic delivery is part of the European EUMAM cooperation, involving Denmark, the Netherlands, and Germany, reaffirming their commitment to support Ukraine in its ongoing defensive efforts. The journey towards this momentous delivery began in the spring, with relentless efforts to prepare and refurbish the Leopard 1A5 main battle tanks that had been dormant for several years. In February 2023, Acting Defense Minister Troels Lund Poulsen announced Denmark’s partnership with the Netherlands and Germany in donating these tanks to Ukraine, accompanied by comprehensive crew training.
The training process itself is a testament to international collaboration. Danish tank instructors have been actively working in Germany, collaborating closely with their German counterparts to train Ukrainian tank crews. Interpreters from multiple countries and representatives from the German tank industry are actively engaged in ensuring effective communication and seamless training. Despite the compressed nature of the training program, quality remains uncompromised. The significance of this endeavor is underscored by Denmark’s commitment to provide valuable support to Ukraine. The Leopard 1A5 tanks, which were operational in the Danish Armed Forces until 2005, have found a new lease on life in Ukraine. After Denmark sold approximately 100 of these tanks to Flensburger Fahrzeugbau Gesellschaft (FFG) in 2010, they have remained in storage.
“What we are doing here makes 100% sense. And we go to the task completely, like when we train tank crews at home in Denmark. Regardless of whether we train Danes or Ukrainians, the quality must be equally high,” sayss Chief of Staff at the Armored Battalion, Major Kim Fonseca.
“With the effort our skilled and dedicated instructors provide through the training of Ukrainian tank crews, we ensure that the donation is converted into yet another powerful Ukrainian capacity for their defense struggle,” declares Defense Minister Troels Lund Poulsen.
However, when the decision was made to donate them to Ukraine, six of these tanks were promptly lent to the Armed Forces to expedite the training process. The Danish instructors leading this effort are a blend of military personnel from the Jutland Dragoon Regiment, veterans from various branches of the Armed Forces, and dedicated civilians with extensive experience operating Leopard 1A5 tanks. Their unwavering commitment to training Ukrainian crews reflects their determination to ensure Ukraine’s ability to defend itself effectively. This landmark delivery and training initiative reinforce the solidarity of European nations in supporting Ukraine’s defense efforts. As more Leopard tanks continue to reach Ukraine, the hope is that they will serve as a formidable asset in the ongoing defense battle, ultimately helping Ukraine secure its sovereignty and protect its people.