Bratislava reportedly wants equal number of modern tanks before shipping its T-72s to Ukraine
Slovakia has rejected a German offer of 15 Leopard 2A4 tanks in exchange for sending 30 Soviet-era T-72s to Ukraine, the German version of Business Insider reported on Tuesday. The swap was deemed not good enough by Bratislava, the outlet revealed.
A comment by the Slovakian defense ministry, cited in the article, complained that similar swaps involving other Eastern European nations had far more favorable terms.
“They deliver a weapon system to Ukraine and receive two from Germany or another country in return. Slovakia has 30 T-72 tanks. So, 15 Leopard main battle tanks are not enough for us. We need 30 for a tank battalion,” a spokesperson for the ministry said, according to the report.
Slovakian Defense Minister Jaroslav Nad confirmed in May that his country was willing to send its fleet of T-72s, a remnant of its past as part of the Soviet bloc, to bolster Ukrainian forces.
He made the announcement after hosting his German and Dutch counterparts at the Sliac air base. The minister stressed that Slovakia would require Leopard tanks in return to ensure its national security and to meet its obligations as a NATO member.
There were immediate concerns among military experts that the terms of the chain swap could become an issue. The Leopard 2 is a more advanced armor than the T-72, so exchanging them one-for-one would be a poor proposition for Germany, they pointed out.
Slovakia made a favorable deal by sending old S-300 air defense systems to Ukraine in exchange for newer US-made Patriot missile systems, which were supplied by the US, Germany and the Netherlands.