(MENAFN- Hip Hop-24) Portuguese Defense Minister Joao Gomez Cravinho revealed, on Wednesday, that the process of delivering and deploying Leopard 2 tanks donated by European countries to Ukraine "will not be completed before 3 months."
He said in press statements that the deployment of these tanks "depends mainly on the training that the Ukrainian forces will receive," according to the Portuguese radio network "CIS".
He added, "The Ukrainian army needs to train on these tanks, as they are very advanced and high-tech, and completing the training operations will take several weeks."
He pointed out that the second stage in the process of delivering these tanks to Ukraine will be encountered by "logistical obstacles", which he said will have to be "dealt with the allies", which will make the matter take "between two and three months", without further explanation.
And Portugal announced, last Friday, during a meeting with a number of allies supporting Ukraine held in Germany, that it was ready to supply Kyiv with "Leopard 2", and also offered to train Ukrainian forces to use them.
Portugal has 37 Leopard 2 tanks, according to media reports.
In the context, the ruling Social Democratic Party in Germany revealed that the European allies are "in the process of providing Ukraine with a total of 80 Leopard 2 tanks."
"Two battalions (about 80 main battle tanks total) of Leopard-2-A6 will be rapidly delivered to Ukraine," he said on Twitter.
He explained that Germany will provide 14 tanks from its army's stocks, and has granted permissions to other countries that possess this type of tanks to donate a number of them to the Ukrainian army.
Norway, Poland, Finland, the Netherlands, Spain and Portugal offered to provide "Leopard 2" tanks to Ukraine, to enhance the ability of its forces to repel the Russian attack.
In addition to the "Leopard" tanks, the United States announced, on Wednesday, that it would send 31 "Abrams M1" tanks to Ukraine, and the United Kingdom pledged to provide 14 of its "Challenger 2" combat tanks.
The issue of handing over "Leopard 2" tanks to the Ukrainian army was resolved, after German Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced this morning that his country had agreed to send 14 "Leopard 2" combat tanks to Kyiv.
Government spokesman Stephen Heppistreit said in a statement that the move "was taken in coordination with international partners," adding that its aim was "the rapid formation of two battalions of tanks for Ukraine, including Leopard 2 tanks."
Kyiv had appealed to hand over the German "Leopard 2" tanks, but obtaining them even from the countries that possess them requires Berlin's approval.
Berlin did not take the decision to hand over this type of tanks to Kiev only after completing extensive consultations with its allies, which lasted for weeks.
The Leopard 2 is distinguished by giving it comprehensive protection for its crew from threats such as improvised explosive devices, mines or anti-tank fire.
In addition to containing cooling systems in the crew compartment, an auxiliary power generator, and a telephone that allows the crew to communicate outside.
It is noteworthy that NATO countries fear that some military supplies to Ukraine will cause an escalation of the conflict and turn it into a war with Russia.
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