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Netherlands plans to purchase 96 former Italian Leopard 1 tanks for Ukraine.

| 2023

As a Swiss company (Ruag) may become the supplier of tanks, sources in The Hague say, their purchase by the Netherlands to supply them to Ukraine requires the permission of the Swiss government… which wants to stay away from the war with Russia, as much as possible. The supply of weapons puts neutrality at risk, as the Swiss said earlier. So the agreement on the purchase of tanks has not yet been concluded.
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Swiss company Ruag purchased 96 former Italian army Leopard 1A1/A2 and A5 tanks which it is now willing to sell for the Ukrainian army after refurbishment by Rheinmetall (Picture source:

This potential deal was reported by the Dutch publication NOS with reference to its sources. As reported by website and Ukraina Pravda, Swiss company RUAG wants to sell 96 Leopard 1 tanks to Germany in order to have them refurbished by Rheinmetall before their transfer to Ukraine. Seven years ago, Ruag bought these tanks (Leopard 1A1/A2 and A5) from the Italian army for further resale. Ruag already sent an official letter to the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs to obtain approval for the sale. It is unclear how much these tanks would be invoiced.

As reported on, the commission of the Council of Cantons (Parliament) of Switzerland advocated the weakening of export controls on military equipment produced in the confederation. We are talking about permission for third countries to re-export such weapons. A similar commission on security issues of another chamber of the Swiss parliament - the National Council - expressed the same position back in January of this year. The measure is now expected to be considered by the full parliament. It is planned to take place in June. However, Werner Salzmann, head of the cantonal council's security commission, noted that such relaxations, even if approved, would not take effect until March 2024.

Previously, a number of European countries, including Germany, Denmark, and Spain, wanted to redirect purchased Swiss-made military equipment to Ukraine, but Bern refused them, referring to the policy of neutrality enshrined in the country's constitution, which, in particular, prohibits the transfer of weapons to the zone of active hostilities.

Defense News June 2023

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