Six Leopard 2 tanks bound for Ukraine have left the Spanish port city of Santander in northern Spain and are en route to their destination, the Spanish Minister of Defense Margarita Robles said Saturday.
Robles told journalists the tanks left Santander “along with 20 heavy transport vehicles” and the trip by sea would take from five to six days.
“In six days, going through another country, they will be in Ukraine,” she said.
Robles said last week that four more Leopard tanks, in addition to the current six, would be sent to Ukraine following repairs, “as soon as possible.”
A total of 40 tank crew members and 15 mechanics have also been trained in Spain, Reuters reported.
Ukraine has been reliant on outdated Soviet-era tanks throughout the Russian invasion and has appealed to the West for modern battle tanks to bolster Kyiv’s forces.
The Leopard’s relatively low maintenance demands compared to other tank models means it will be particularly well-suited to the Ukrainians’ needs, experts have said.
Several armies around the world use Leopards and there are believed to be around 2,000 Leopard 2 vehicles spread across Europe, at different levels of readiness.
In recent months, the US, along with countries such as Poland, Finland and the UK – pledged to send tanks to Ukraine.
Following international pressure, Germany announced a major decision in January that it would send Leopard 2 tanks to Kyiv’s troops – raising anger from Kremlin officials who sought to cast the move as an act of aggression against Russia.