Germany’s Rheinmetall tank manufacturer buys Leopard 2 tanks
BERLIN, GERMANY — German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius and Economy Minister Robert Habeck have sent a request to Switzerland to buy some of the 96 preserved Leopard 2 tanks, Swiss newspaper Blick reported. According to her, they will not be sent to Ukraine.
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According to Blick, Germany requested the sale of tanks to replenish the arsenals of countries that sent Kyiv their own Leopard 2. The tanks are expected to be bought by their manufacturer, the German company Rheinmetall.
Receipt of the request has been confirmed by the Swiss Ministry of Defense, writes Blick. They added that Switzerland now needs 34 of the 96 Leopard 2s preserved. To sell the remaining tanks, their manufacturer needs permission from the Swiss parliament.
Deliveries of Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine were announced by Germany, Denmark, Spain, Canada, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, and Portugal. Denmark and the Netherlands later announced that they would transfer Leopard 1 to Kyiv.
Finland said it would send three armored demining vehicles based on the Leopard 2 tank, rather than the tanks themselves. In Spain, they said that before sending the Leopard 2 to Ukraine, the tanks must be repaired. In fact, this problem with defective Spanish tanks has been clear since the beginning of the war.
Then in the second half of 2022, a Ukrainian envoy from the Ministry of Defense went to Madrid to discuss a possible transfer of Leopard 2 to Ukraine. Although there were no indications at the time that Ukraine would receive tanks, the Ukrainian envoy gave up on the Spanish tanks because of their poor condition. This refusal came at a time when European Union funds had even agreed to finance the renovation.
According to The New York Times, European countries are not ready to supply Ukraine with the previously promised number of tanks.
BulgarianMilitary.com warned as early as 2022 that Germany does not have Leopard tanks, despite Berlin’s claims. Germany then promised about 50 tanks to Poland after the Poles donated their T-72 tanks to Ukraine. Subsequently, it turned out that Berlin could not provide even the 50 tanks and offered Warsaw to replace them with a larger quantity, but version 1.
Even then, Polish experts expressed the opinion that over the years Germany had not produced tanks for its armed forces. Moreover, those that were in surplus or in stock were used for spare parts needed for the German operationally ready Leopard 2.
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