German Tanks for Czech Republic
During Chancellor Scholz’s visit, Germany and the Czech Republic sealed the planned tank exchange in favour of Ukraine. The first German Leopard 2 should be delivered to the Czech Republic before the end of the year.
The Czech Republic will receive 14 German Leopard 2 main battle tanks and a Buffalo recovery tank as compensation for Soviet-design T72 tanks delivered to Ukraine. Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced this in Prague today. He has now arranged the exchange of rings “very specifically” with Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala.
Fiala emphasized that the ring exchange was now “complete”. “The first tanks will come to the Czech Republic before the end of the year.” This is a “big step” in defence. Scholz also emphasized that the agreement would “further strengthen cooperation between the Czech and German defence armies”.
It is the second tank ring swap in support of Ukraine’s armed forces, following a similar agreement the German Defense Ministry struck with Slovakia last week. The idea of ring exchange came up shortly after the beginning of the Ukraine war. The aim was to supply Ukraine with heavy weapons of Soviet design as quickly as possible, and Ukrainian soldiers could operate these without training. In return, the countries supplying Soviet weapons were to receive Western makes from other NATO partners at a later date.
However, Germany’s negotiations with Poland, Slovenia, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Greece proved problematic. Above all, Poland, which has already delivered around 200 tanks to Ukraine, was dissatisfied with the German offers. An agreement is also still pending with Greece and Slovenia.
In total, the Czech Republic has handed over weapons and ammunition worth the equivalent of more than 150 million euros to Ukraine since the Russian invasion began more than six months ago. Defense Minister Jana Cernochova recently announced this. According to media reports, these included combat helicopters, multiple rocket launchers and wheeled howitzers.