Portugal to send Ukraine three Leopard 2 tanks

EU leaders meet in Brussels
Portugal's Prime Minister Antonio Costa speaks as he attends the European Union leaders' summit in Brussels, Belgium October 20, 2022. REUTERS/Piroschka van de Wouw/File Photo

LISBON, Feb 8 (Reuters) - Portugal is repairing some its Leopard 2 tanks and will send three to war-torn Ukraine next month, Prime Minister Antonio Costa said on Wednesday.

The announcement came after Costa said on Saturday the southern European nation was in talks with Germany to obtain parts needed to repair inoperable Leopard tanks in Portugal's inventory.

"Right now we are implementing the recovery and maintenance plan for the Leopard 2 tanks and, according to the plan, we are in a position to be able to send three of them in March," Costa told parliament.

"This is what we are working towards," Costa added.

Admiral Antonio Silva Ribeiro, the head of the Portuguese armed forces, said last month Portugal had 37 Leopard 2 tanks but local media has widely reported that most are inoperable.

Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said last week week the country would receive 120 to 140 Western tanks in a "first wave" of deliveries from a coalition of 12 countries.

Kyiv secured pledges from the West to supply main battle tanks to fend off Russia's full-scale invasion, with Moscow mounting huge efforts to make incremental advances in eastern Ukraine.

Reporting by Patricia Rua and Catarina Demony; Editing by Josie Kao

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