Bratislava, August 23 (TASR) – State secretaries of the Slovak and German Defence Ministries on Tuesday signed an agreement to bolster military cooperation between Bratislava and Berlin, according to which the former will receive fifteen Leopard 2A4 tanks along with ammunition, spare parts and crew training from Germany in exchange for giving Ukraine its 30 Soviet-era BVP-1 infantry fighting vehicles, Defence Minister Jaroslav Nad (OLaNO) reported at a press conference on the same day.
“Thus, we’ll significantly strengthen the combat capability of the heavy mechanised brigade and the defence capability of the Slovak Republic. At the same time, we’re gradually eliminating our dependence on Russia by getting rid of old Soviet equipment,” said Nad. Leopard tanks are used by 18 allied countries, which will enable cooperation, he added.
The minister explained that when the Leopards are delivered, the Slovak Armed Forces will have a total of 45 tanks at their disposal and so will possess the number of tanks recommended by NATO. Nad opined that later there will be an effort to replace Slovakia’s Soviet-era T-72 tanks as well, adding that the country is not considering donating these machines to Ukraine at the moment, however.
According to his estimate, the BVP-1s should be delivered to Ukraine in the next few weeks after the legal steps of this transfer have been finalised.
As for the Leopards, at least one should be supplied to Slovakia by the end of this year, while the rest should follow in 2023. “They are in a very good condition and are yet undergo a comprehensive overhaul in Germany,” he claimed.