Norwegian forces have donated eight Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, with the tanks arriving just before Easter. In recent weeks, Ukrainian personnel have been trained to use the tanks, with Norwegian forces teaching and practising alongside Ukrainian soldiers in Poland.
According to Lieutenant-Colonel Palle Ydstebø at the Norwegian Defense Academy, the Ukrainian soldiers are learning to use the Leopard tanks quickly. This development is a positive sign for the upcoming spring offensive, which many expect to be critical in the ongoing conflict with Russia.
“The Ukrainians have proven to be quite good when it comes to learning new Western material. This may partly be due to something as banal as the comfort and space in the carriages being much better than in the old Soviet equipment,” says Ydstebø.
Norway has also been a supplier of military aid to Ukraine since Russia’s February 2022 invasion. Donations have included M270 MLRS, M72 anti-tank weapons, M109 self-propelled howitzers, and Mistral MANPADS.
Norway has repeatedly expressed its commitment to supporting Ukraine and views it as a fundamental issue for broader European security, according to GlobalData’s “Norway Defense Market 2022-2027” report.
The donations of tanks, ammunition, and fighter planes from Norway will undoubtedly significantly impact the outcome of this offensive. However, questions still need to be answered about when it will begin and how successful it will be.
Ydstebø follows developments in Ukraine and wonders when the long-announced spring offensive will start, like most in the West. “Taking into account the weather and road conditions, and preparation, the earliest time it will start is probably at the turn of April/May,” he says.
With tensions still high in the region, many eagerly await news of Ukraine’s plans for the spring offensive. The arrival of Norwegian and many other European nations’ tanks has undoubtedly raised the stakes and increased the chances of a successful operation.
As the conflict in Ukraine continues, the international community is closely watching the situation and offering support where possible. The donations from Norway are just one example of this support, and they will make a difference in the coming weeks and months.