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Greece Receives First Batch of Tanks from Germany

Greece German tanks
Greece received the first six German tanks on Sunday. Credit: Hellenic National Defence General Staff (GEETHA)

On Sunday, Greece received the first batch of tanks from Germany following an agreement between Athens and Berlin according to which Greece will send forty Soviet-designed tanks to Ukraine.

The first six tanks are infantry fighting vehicles known as “Marder.” Greece will receive another thirty-four tanks in the next few weeks.

The tanks are being sent to Greece following an agreement between Greek National Defence Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos and his German counterpart Christine Lambrecht in September.

Germany is sending Ukraine Soviet weapons via partners because the military is already familiar with the equipment whereas modern equipment, such as the Marder, would require additional training.

The infantry fighting vehicles known as “Marder” arrive in Greece. Credit: Hellenic National Defence General Staff (GEETHA)

Tanks from Germany will help the modernization of Greece’s defense

Germany’s delivery to Greece will also contribute to the modernization of the Greek military, as the obsolete BMP-1 tanks will be exchanged for more modern and much more expensive German equipment.

With the first unit delivered in the summer of 1971, the Marder remained untested in combat for thirty-eight years until July 2009 when they defended a German combat outpost against the Taliban in Afghanistan’s Kunduz Province, killing and wounding scores of insurgents.

Since then, the Marders have been involved in heavy fighting several times. The vehicles have proven to be extremely useful and have been praised as a great tactical asset by German troops.

Greece, which has joined its NATO allies in supporting Ukraine against the Russian invasion, has already sent military equipment to Kyiv.

Until May, it had provided the following equipment:

122 BMP-1s and their ammunition
15,000 73-mm rockets
2,100 122-mm rockets
20,000 AK-47 Kalashnikov assault rifles
3,200,000 7.62-mm cartridges
60 FIM-92 Stinger MANPADS
17,000 155-mm artillery missiles
1,100 RPG-18 anti-tank missiles

Greece’s support for Ukraine has irked Russia

Greece’s support for Ukraine has caused a strong reaction from Russia, which, in July, declared Greece an “unfriendly” country.

The Russian decree provides restrictions and even a potential complete ban for “unfriendly” countries in hiring employees for embassies, consulates, and representative government agencies from Russian locals.

In June, Russia expelled eight Greek diplomats over the latter’s “confrontational course” towards Moscow.

The move was in retaliation to the expulsion of twelve Russian diplomats from Athens.

In April, Russia’s Foreign Ministry warned Greece that relations between the two nations that “share the same faith” have been “reduced to almost nothing.”


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