Finland Says Will Send Three Leopard Tanks to Ukraine

Finland announced Thursday it will send three Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, the latest Western country to pledge heavier weapons on the eve of the one-year anniversary of the war.

“We will send more defence materiel and participate in the Leopard cooperation together with our partners,” Minister of Defence Mikko Savola said in a statement.

The aid package would also include “training related to their use and maintenance.”

Speaking at a press conference following the announcement, Savola specified that the vehicles being sent were a modified version of the Leopard 2 platform, designed for clearing mines and other explosives.

“These don’t have a cannon, these have a machine gun. These are specifically for mine clearance,” Savola told reporters.

Out of Finland’s some 200 Leopard 2 tanks, only six are modified in this way.

Finland, which shares a 1,300-kilometre (800-mile) border with Russia, has been hesitant to commit to sending battle tanks to Ukraine.

The announcement follows a pledge of six tanks from Spain on Wednesday and comes after German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Friday that allies with available battle tanks should send them now.

Germany initially resisted pressure from allies to authorize the delivery of German-made Leopard tanks to Ukraine.

But it relented in January, saying it would send a company of 14 Leopard tanks, with the aim of assembling along with allies two tank battalions for Ukraine.

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