The Swiss company Ruag, which specializes in the defense industry, wants to sell 96 Leopard 1 tanks to Ukraine. The press secretary of the company reported this in a comment to public radio SRF.
These are old tanks that were bought in Italy in 2016 and were not used. Then the tanks were bought for resale or spare parts. They are still in Italy. Now they are not ready for battle and need repairs. The German concern Rheinmetall wants to buy them. In the future, the machines can be transferred to Ukraine.
The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (Seco) confirmed that it had received the export request, but did not provide further details.
The Defense Minister Viola Amherd told parliament in mid-March that Seco had rejected Ruagʼs previous request to resell the tanks, citing the countryʼs neutrality. However, Amherd also previously hinted that once Switzerlandʼs own military needs are met, there may be "a certain number of tanks that we donʼt need and that we can provide [to European partners] if the parliament declares them decommissioned."
- On May 24, 2023, it became known that Switzerland will decommission 25 Leopard 2 tanks, and they will be sold back to the German manufacturer Rheinmetall. Before that, Germany asked Switzerland to sell it some of its preserved Leopard 2 tanks. This could allow Berlin and other allies to increase military aid to Ukraine. The Czech Republic has also submitted an application to Switzerland for the purchase of Leopard 2 tanks.