Austria refused to train Ukrainian tank crews for Leopard tanks

VIENNA, AUSTRIA — Neutral Austria does not want to train Ukrainian soldiers to operate the Leopard 2 tank, the country’s defense minister, Mrs. Claudia Tanner, said on Monday, quoted by the Austrian daily Kurier. “Each country makes sovereign decisions about support for Ukraine within its own law,” Tanner said.

Stridsvagn 122 - 'the best Leopard' that could face the T-90M
Photo credit: Wikipedia

Kurier reported that Austria has one tank battalion consisting of 48 Leopard 2 tanks and despite the country’s neutrality, they are being trained by foreign soldiers, in particular from NATO member countries – Hungary and the Czech Republic.

The Kyiv Independent portal recalled that on January 30, Tanner and her Hungarian counterpart, Christoph Shalai-Bobrovnitsky, announced that their countries had agreed not to send military aid to Ukraine.

Leopard tanks

At the same time, the Kyiv Independent reported, citing information provided by a spokeswoman for the German Defense Ministry, that the German armed forces have already begun training Ukrainians to use Leopard 2 tanks, the delivery of which was announced in Kyiv by Chancellor Olaf Scholz on January 25.

Poland has promised to supply Ukraine with Leopard 2A4 tanks. Canada will also deliver four Leopard 2. Other European countries, including the Netherlands, Denmark, and Norway, although they have announced that they are ready to send tanks to Ukraine, have not yet made a final decision on this matter, Kyiv Independent reminded.

Switzerland’s refusal recalls that another European country also maintained neutrality regarding supplies of weapons to Ukraine. Spain’s attempt to supply Ukraine with Swiss-made anti-aircraft guns has failed. This became clear after Bern officially confirmed that such a delivery would violate the arms re-export law. These are 35 mm anti-aircraft guns. This is not the first attempt by European countries to supply Swiss weapons to Ukraine. Last year, Denmark and Germany ran into a “Swiss wall” after their request was also rejected.

Switzerland: We refuse to supply anti-aircraft guns to Ukraine
Photo credit: SAF

The news agency EFE broke the news of the Swiss rejection of the Spanish request. The release does not make it clear which 35mm anti-aircraft system was rejected.

According to experts, it is very likely that it is a 35 mm Oerlikon GDF twin cannon towed anti-aircraft gun. This weapon is produced by the Swiss branch of Rheinmetall Air Defense after acquiring the original developer Oerlikon Contraves in 2009.

The anti-aicraft gun is automatically controlled by the fire control system. On electronic manual control and with a visor with laser-distance measuring unit based on an autonomuous computer, the gun can be operated independently.


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