According to n-tv, Berlin has opted to set up the hub on its own territory, instead of Poland
Germany will build a tank maintenance plant for Ukraine on its own soil, and possibly an additional facility in Lithuania, the n-tv news outlet reported on Wednesday, citing an anonymous German official.
The decision has also been reported by Handelsblatt newspaper, which said Berlin was abandoning an idea – agreed on back in April – to set up such a hub for damaged Ukrainian hardware in Poland.
According to an article on the n-tv website, repair work on the Leopard 2A5 und 2A6 models can start as soon as Ukraine requests such services. The hardware was given to Kiev by Berlin back in March.
The broadcaster quoted an unnamed official as saying talks on how the Polish-supplied “2A4 [Leopard] battle tanks can be maintained” were still underway. It went on to say that Berlin and Warsaw still “want to coordinate” efforts.
Meanwhile Handelsblatt, citing anonymous sources, claimed Germany’s decision to scrap the planned facility in Poland was due to Warsaw’s disproportionately high price projections. Under the initial agreement, two German tank manufacturers – Rheinmetall and KMW – were to set up a joint venture in Poland, together with the Polish state-owned PGZ company. The German government was then expected to cover the costs.
According to Handelsblatt, German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius had recently exerted pressure on his Polish colleague Mariusz Blaszczak to get the project off the ground after a months-long delay. The two defense ministers agreed on the creation of a tank repair hub back in April during a meeting of Ukraine’s Western backers at the US’ Ramstein Air Base in Germany. Under the original plan, the facility should have been set up by the end of May.
Earlier this month, German news outlet Der Spiegel published reports on the same theme, alleging that there was a disagreement between Berlin and Warsaw over payment. Also in its latest report, Handelsblatt claimed about half the German-made hardware donated by European nations to Ukraine was in need of repair.
Russia’s Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu reported on Tuesday that since the start of the Ukrainian counteroffensive in early June, Russian forces have destroyed over 1,200 tanks, including 17 Leopards.
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