Unnamed Country Buys 50 Leopard 1 Tanks from Belgium for Ukraine

Tuesday, 8 August 2023

The first Leopard 1 tanks were shipped from Belgian territory to Ukraine on Monday morning.

As reported by the Belgian publication Business AM, an unnamed country bought tanks for Ukraine.

These 50 tanks were completely decommissioned from the Belgian army's arsenal several years ago. The military leadership decided to remove all heavy tracked vehicles from service and replace them with lighter armoured wheeled machines under the pressure of additional cost savings.

However, the tanks were not included in the list of equipment Belgium supplies to Ukraine. According to Defence Minister, Ludivine Dedonder, they are too expensive to be put into operation.

She mentioned this earlier this year, stating, "Efforts were made to refurbish them, but the company is now asking up to 500,000 euros per tank. I understand that work isn't free, but the margin is exaggerated."

Belgium sold the tanks to the OIP Systems company for only 15,000 euros each, effectively treating them as scrap metal. The army lacked hangars to store the decommissioned equipment, so they sold it at dumping prices.

Nevertheless, the unnamed country decided to purchase the Leopard 1 tanks. After thorough reconstruction, the first machines are already on their way to Ukraine across Germany and Italy. They will be equipped with new armament systems along the way.

The country purchased these tanks remains unknown. Currently, only Germany, Denmark, and the Netherlands have announced their intention to supply Leopard 1 tanks purchased from industry to Ukraine.

In late July, Germany reported a new batch of military aid sent to Ukraine, including ten Leopard 1 A5 tanks.

In June, the Swiss government disallowed the re-export of almost a hundred Leopard 1 tanks, which were supposed to be delivered to Ukraine after refurbishment in Germany.

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