Lithuania has successfully restored Leopard 2 tanks damaged on the frontlines and is now prepared to transfer them to Ukraine, the Lithuanian Ministry of Defense announced
The Ministry took to X (previously known as Twitter) to announce the news: “The first “Leopard 2” tanks repaired in Lithuania are gearing up for their journey to Ukraine!”
“Having arrived from the frontlines, these tanks are now ready to make an impactful return,” the message says.
On December 15, the tanks that underwent repairs and were soon to re-enter the Ukrainian battlefield were showcased at the Lithuanian Army’s training ground in Gaižiūnai (Jonava district).
Lithuanian Defense Minister Arvydas Anusauskas, seated on the turret of one of the tanks, traversed a rugged road in the military training area, remarking to reporters, “What can I say?… A powerful tank.”
The tanks featured in the presentation, marking among the initial ones repaired in Lithuania, are anticipated to arrive in Ukraine next month.
Minister of National Defense Arvydas Anušauskas reiterated Lithuania’s unwavering commitment to supporting Ukraine’s struggle against Russia. This commitment goes beyond military assistance, including repairing Leopard 2 tanks essential for the battlefield.
While Minister Anušauskas did not disclose the exact number of tanks that underwent repairs in Lithuania, visual evidence shared by the Ministry indicates the presence of at least two repaired Leopard tanks.
Little Defense Services (LDS), a joint venture established last year by major European military equipment manufacturers Rheinmetall and Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW), handles the tank repairs in Lithuania.
LDS commenced its tank repair operations in October, taking in the initial batch. As per the existing contract terms, the repair work is slated to continue until the end of next year.
The company overseeing the repair work also said that Lithuania will stand as the sole European nation tasked with the repair of Leopard 2 A6 and A5 tanks. “For these variants, this is the only hub,” said Sebastian Dietz, CEO of Lithuania Defense Services.
Expressing readiness, LDS asserted its capability to accept as many tanks as required. Dietz also disclosed that the units received by LDS had displayed diverse combat-related damage, including direct hits, mines, drone attacks, and water-related challenges.
Poland has also repaired German-made Leopard battle tanks deployed in Ukraine. On October 2, the Polish Armaments Group (PGZ) declared that Kyiv had received the initial shipment of Leopard 2 tanks following the completion of repairs.
Lithuania’s Support To Ukraine
Lithuania has also taken proactive steps to facilitate the repair and return of the PzH 2000 Self-Propelled Howitzer to Ukraine. This military asset has actively been involved in combat operations.
In a recent display of solidarity, Lithuania contributed €1 million to the Ukraine Solidarity Fund, managed by the Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB). This financial support aims to aid Ukraine’s reconstruction efforts and enhance living conditions.
Further reinforcing its commitment, Lithuania handed Ukraine two NASAMS medium-range air defense system launchers on November 10. On the same day, the Lithuanian Defense Ministry decided to provide anti-drone equipment and generators to assist Ukraine.
Collaborating with other European Union member states, Lithuania has placed orders for 155mm artillery ammunition, strengthening Ukraine’s military capabilities.
As of June 2023, Lithuania has already provided close to one billion euros in military, financial, humanitarian, and reconstruction support, making it the leading contributor globally in terms of the percentage of its GDP.
Emphasizing ongoing preparations for the impending winter season, Lithuania will supply generators and essential equipment for Ukraine to endure the challenging winter months.
In addition to financial and material support, Lithuania has transferred Mi-8 helicopters, L-70 anti-aircraft guns with ammunition, M113 armored personnel carriers, millions of rounds of ammunition, and grenade launcher ammunition to Ukraine in the first seven months of this year.
Lithuanian defense officials highlight that the country’s contribution to Ukraine’s fight for freedom includes millions of rounds of ammunition and thousands of weapons, providing lessons learned and fortifying Lithuania’s defense capabilities.
Lithuania also provides expert advice, contributes to international funds for Ukraine, participates in training Ukrainian soldiers, conducts courses for them, and contributes military instructors to Operation Interflex. This NATO-led operation involves training Ukrainian soldiers in combat intricacies alongside other NATO allies.