On Monday, dozens of Ukrainian soldiers returned home after completing a four-week training course in Spain on how to operate the Leopard 2A4 combat tank, six units of which will be sent to Kiev this spring by Madrid.
At a military facility in the northeastern city of Zaragoza, 40 tank crew members and 15 mechanical specialists got training on how to operate them, according to a statement from Spain’s armed forces.
When media were given access to the drills for the first time, Spanish trainer Captain Contreras, who just gave his rank and last name, said, “It has been intense.
Contreras said the Ukrainians would be returning home “with a very acceptable knowledge” of the Leopards.
“Although the tanks were different, there were many systems that coincide and that has made things much easier. With that, together with the motivation that the personnel brought and their desire to learn, we see them very well prepared to resume combat.”
One of the Ukrainian soldiers being trained had a patch on a sleeve sporting the slogan “Freedom or Death” underneath the Ukrainian flag.
Kyiv has secured from several of its Western allies pledges to send modern battlefield tanks to help fend off Russia’s invasion as Moscow steps up its efforts to make advances in eastern Ukraine.
Last month, Spain said it plans to send six German-made Leopard 2A4 tanks to Ukraine after they undergo repairs, a number that could increase to 10.
Other NATO countries, including Germany, Poland and Portugal, have said they would deliver a total of 48 Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine.