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Switzerland Moves Closer To Selling 25 Leopard Tanks To Germany

Switzerland Moves Closer To Selling 25 Leopard Tanks To Germany

The Swiss government has approved the decommissioning of 25 Leopard 2A4 tanks, paving the way for their possible resale to Germany. The move could help Western countries provide more military assistance to Ukraine, which is facing a Russian invasion.

The decision was announced on Wednesday by the Swiss Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport (DDPS). It said that the decommissioning of the tanks was part of a planned reduction of the Swiss tank fleet from 230 to 134 units, which was approved by parliament in 2018.

The DDPS said that the decommissioning of the tanks would not affect Switzerland’s own security needs, as it still had enough tanks for training and operational purposes. It also said the resale of the tanks to Germany was not yet decided, and that it would require separate approval by parliament and the government.

Germany has requested Switzerland to sell some of the tanks to Rheinmetall, the German arms manufacturer that produces the Leopard 2. Rheinmental would then refurbish and upgrade the tanks and sell them to other European Union and NATO countries that are supporting Ukraine with military equipment.

Germany, Poland, Portugal, Finland, and Sweden are among the countries that have sent or pledged to send Leopard tanks to Ukraine, which is facing a massive Russian military buildup along its borders. The delivery of more thanks to Ukraine could help deter further Russian aggression and strengthen Ukraine’s defence capabilities.

However, the issue is controversial in Switzerland, which has a long tradition of neutrality and a strict arms export policy. Switzerland is prohibited from exporting weapons directly to countries involved in armed conflicts or human rights violations. It also has an arms embargo on Russia and Ukraine since 2014.

Switzerland has previously rejected requests from Germany, Spain, and Denmark to allow Swiss-made ammunition that they had bought earlier to be re-exported to Ukraine. But some Swiss politicians and activists have called for a change in the policy, arguing that Switzerland should support Ukraine’s sovereignty and security.

The decommissioning of the 25 Leopard tanks will now be submitted to the Swiss parliament for approval. If approved, the DDPS will then negotiate with Rheinmentall on the terms and conditions of the resale. The DDPS said that it expected to receive a fair price for the tanks, which were bought in 1987 and upgraded in 2006.

The Leopard 2 is one of the most advanced and widely used main battle tanks in the world. It has a 120 mm smoothbore gun, a powerful engine, a sophisticated fire control system, and a high level of protection. It can operate in various terrains and climates and has a combat weight of about 60 tonnes.



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