Germany is working on a three-way swap via Slovenia that would see heavy equipment sent to Ukraine.
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said the priority was to ensure Ukraine quickly got older Soviet-designed kit that its military could use without extra training, and that it was doing this by backfilling the stocks of allied countries that had such weaponry to spare with modern German-made gear.
Germany has agreed such an exchange with Slovenia, a Berlin government source told Reuters.
According to this deal, Slovenia will supply T-72 tanks to Ukraine, the source said, while Berlin is supposed to deliver some 20 Marder infantry fighting vehicles and some 20 Fuchs armoured personnel carriers to Ljubljana in return.
The German armed forces themselves faced equipment shortages, Baerbock added, noting that German peacekeeping missions in Africa did not have all the helicopters they needed.
Pressed by journalists on whether Germany’s Leopard tank would be sent to Ukraine, she said troops would need training to use such advanced kit, and that Berlin would pay for that training.
“We are providing 1 billion euros because we should think not just for the coming days and months, but also the next years for the systems Ukraine needs for defence now, but also for a free Ukraine in the future,” she said.
“We know that every day counts.”