Germany’s Rheinmetall plans to set up a repair centre in Ukraine for Leopard tanks and other war equipment supplied by Berlin as early as late summer, the industrial group’s chief executive, Armin Papperger, told Spiegel magazine on Friday.
„We are currently already training Ukrainians in Germany for this job,” said Papperger, adding that Rheinmetall wanted to begin operations of the repair centre after the summer break.
Berlin has supplied around 20 Leopard 2A6 tanks to Kyiv.
A repair hub in Ukraine would reduce the distances the tanks have to be transported, though it also brings security concerns: A close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin said earlier this year that Moscow will hit any facility Rheinmetall sets up in Ukraine.
Rheinmetall, which produces the Leopard tanks jointly with Krauss-Maffei Wegmann, said in May that it had set up a joint venture with Ukrainian state-owned conglomerate Ukroboronprom to build and repair tanks in Ukraine.