A first delivery of Leopard 2 tanks from Poland has arrived in Ukraine, a spokesperson for the Polish defense ministry said on Friday.
"We confirm that at Friday's meeting of the National Security Council, Mr. Mariusz Błaszczak, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of National Defense, announced that the first Polish Leopards were delivered to Ukraine,” according to a defense ministry spokesperson.
Poland has said it will deliver 14 Leopard 2 tanks in all to Ukraine in the “next two or three weeks” once the training of the Ukrainian troops is complete.
Much of this training has taken place in western Poland. CNN has reported from Poland’s main tank range, in Swietoszow, near the German border, where Ukrainian troops received a crash course in how to run the tanks that Kyiv has sought after for so long. Germany approved the release of Leopard 2 tanks, which it manufactures, last month.
Experts believe Leopard 2 tanks could make a significant difference to Ukraine’s ability to withstand and repel Russian advances.
“Leopard 2 is a modern, well-protected main battle tank with good sensors,” Jack Watling, senior research fellow in Land Warfare at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), told CNN. “It was originally designed to be maintained by conscripts and is therefore simpler to keep in the fight than some other NATO designs like the Challenger 2. There is also an existing production line to keep Leopard 2s supplied with spare parts.”