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Ukraine Gets First Western Battle Tanks, on the Anniversary of Russia’s Invasion

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(Bloomberg) — Poland will send a first batch of Leopard 2 battle tanks to Ukraine, a symbolic gesture to mark one year since Russia’s invasion as western allies rush to arm the embattled nation’s forces amid intensified Kremlin-ordered attacks.

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki will announce the delivery of the first of its 14 German-made combat vehicles that his country has pledged during a visit to Kyiv Friday, according to an official who asked not to be named.

The arrival of the older-model Leopards follows an intense lobbying campaign from Warsaw. It culminated last month in Germany’s agreement to deliver state-of-the-art Leopard 2 tanks to Kyiv, unlocking similar pledges from the US and other European allies to send armor inventories.

Read More: Why NATO is Giving Ukraine Air Defense Systems, Not Fighter Jets

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said in Kyiv Thursday that his government is considering increasing the number of Leopard tanks it will ship to Ukraine to 10 from six. Poland has been assembling a coalition of countries to send the older A4 version of the Leopard 2, while Germany is working with allies to supply the modern A6 version.

German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius indicated earlier this month that western allies are struggling to put together two full battalions of the tanks to send to Ukraine as promised.

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