Federal Defense Minister Boris Pistorius (SPD), together with his Danish counterpart Troels Lund Poulsen, attended the training of Ukrainian soldiers and promised permanent support for the country attacked by Russia.
"I stand by it and keep saying it with the utmost conviction: We will support Ukraine with everything that is possible - as long as it takes," said Pistorius during the visit to northern Saxony-Anhalt. Danes and Germans are training Ukrainian soldiers there on Leopard 1 A5 main battle tanks.
They learn to use the weapon system and to repair it in the field. Pistorius said that the training is done with passion and lifeblood - "for something that has been very alien to our reality of life, namely a direct commitment with what you learn here, on the battlefield". That very well influences the thinking of the comrades. The training is an example of support in a multinational framework and also of cooperation between the armed forces and industry.
Repair of around 100 Leopard tanks
"Together with Denmark and the Netherlands, Germany is financing the repair of around 100 Leopard 1 A5s from industry stocks," said the minister. According to army experts, this means considerable fighting power. It is another sign of unity in support for Ukraine against the Russian aggressor. "It will and must remain so in the future," Pistorius continued. Danish Defense Minister Lund Poulsen said he hoped for common support for Ukraine in other areas.
The Netherlands would also participate in further training courses, said the minister. Training on the Marder armored personnel carrier will then follow in the north of Saxony-Anhalt. Training is also planned, for example for house warfare and pioneer training.
The Northern Training Hub is the central hub of the Brussels-led European Mission for the Training of Ukrainian Soldiers (EUMAM UA) in Germany. A large part of the training is concentrated here. According to the information, more than 3,000 Ukrainian soldiers have been trained so far. By the end of the year, the number of trainees is expected to increase to 9,000.
When media representatives visited the training, the soldiers wore tube scarves so as not to be recognizable. For example, they practiced removing the chains and sprockets from the tank and cleaned the tank tubes and optics. They should be able to quickly help themselves if there are problems with the main battle tanks in the field.
A Ukrainian soldier, who says he has been deployed since February 24 last year, said: "It's very unusual for us, this calm here, this silence. We were a bit nervous at first, but thanks to the good and nice Dealing with us, everything works well here and we feel comfortable," he said, according to the translation.
He does not yet know which sector of the front he will go to after several weeks of training in Germany. "We are ready to work anywhere to defend our country." He defended Kiev and fought in Bakhmut. He believes that the main battle tanks made a difference on the front lines. This is where he made his first experiences with western tanks. As an advantage of the Leopard 1 A5, the soldier emphasized the high mobility and accuracy of the weapon.
Old but "absolutely sufficient"
In addition, the battle tanks had night vision devices, emphasized the commander of the German units in the multinational corps, Lieutenant General Andreas Marlow. These thermal imaging cameras are something "where the Russians are weak".
The Leopard tanks are old, but "absolutely adequate" given the conditions in Ukraine. An agricultural machine fitter could do something with them, but engineers are needed for more modern tanks.