By Timur Kirez
BERLIN (AA) - The German government plans to deliver significantly more than expected Leopard 1 tanks to Ukraine.
A total of 178 Leopard 1 tanks from German industrial stocks are to be delivered to Ukraine, news magazine Der Spiegel reported Tuesday.
According to the report, the German Federal Security Council already voted in favor of the export earlier this week. According to the news magazine, the first Leopard 1 main battle tanks are to be delivered to Ukraine as early as this summer.
The larger part, however, will probably not be delivered until 2024. The delivery is to be officially announced by the German government on Tuesday evening.
Two weeks ago, Chancellor Olaf Scholz had already announced the delivery of 14 modern Leopard 2 main battle tanks from Bundeswehr stocks to Ukraine. These are to be handed over to the Ukrainian army at the end of March.
According to Der Spiegel, the Chancellor's office is said to have been negotiating discreetly with the defense industry over the Leopard 1 deal in recent months.
For the delivery, Flensburg-based Fahrzeugbau Gesellschaft (FFG) is said to be readying 90 Leopard 1 models, which have been in storage there for years, and preparing them for deployment in Ukraine.
The report further said that more Leopard 1 packages will be delivered to Kyiv from Italy. German defense contractor Rheinmetall is said to have been given an option months ago to purchase 88 Leopard 1 tanks stored in Italy.
According to the report, the German government will cover the cost of tanks and repairs, with the money coming from funds reserved for upgrading the Ukrainian army.