Sweden to send up to 10 Leopard tanks to Ukraine

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) -Sweden will donate up to 10 Leopard 2 tanks and HAWK anti-aircraft systems to Ukraine, the Nordic country's government said on Friday, in its latest tranche of military support to help Kyiv push back the Russian invasion.

"The Swedish tanks reinforce the Leopard 2 contribution that other European countries make. Coordination of support is ongoing with international partners donating Leopard 2 or other tanks," the government said in a statement.

Earlier on Friday, the one-year anniversary of the invasion, Poland said it had delivered four Leopard tanks to Ukraine already and was prepared to deliver more quickly.

Warsaw's commitment to its neighbour has been instrumental in persuading European allies to donate heavy weapons to Ukraine, including tanks, a move opposed by several governments, including Berlin, until recently.

Swedish Defence Minister Pal Jonson told a news conference the war in Ukraine had entered an intensive phase and that Sweden would do all it could to deliver the military as soon as possible.

The tanks and the HAWK systems will make up Sweden's 11th support package to Ukraine and includes important parts for the IRIS-T anti-aircraft system in co-operation with Germany, the government said.

While Ukrainians paid tribute to fallen loved ones on Friday and vowed to fight on to victory, Russia said its forces were making gains in battle in eastern Ukraine as its invasion entered a second year with no end in sight.

(Reporting by Anna Ringstrom and Simon Johnson, editing by Essi Lehto and Niklas Pollard)