The Netherlands is prepared to buy tanks it currently leases from Germany and send them to Ukraine, but is also open to other ideas, prime minister Mark Rutte told RTL Nieuws on Wednesday.
‘Those talks are ongoing,’ Rutte said. ‘We could also put the tanks to use in other ways and those discussions are also taking place… we are prepared to take a decision.’
Rutte was speaking following the news that Germany has agreed to send 14 Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine. Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced the decision, and the move to and allow other countries to send theirs too, at a cabinet meeting on Wednesday.
‘The most important thing is that Germany has taken this decision,’ Rutte said. ‘It is a large number.’
US president Joe Biden is also expected to announce plans to send 30 M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine in the near future.
Defence minister Kasja Ollongren said last week the Netherlands is open to paying for Leopard tanks to be sent to Ukraine together with its European and Nato allies.
The Netherlands paid earlier towards sending tanks from the Czech Republic to Ukraine and the approach could be similar for the German-made Leopard tanks, she told news agency Bloomberg in an interview from Davos, Switzerland.
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