The first Leopard 1 tanks purchased by an unknown country were sent to Ukraine from Belgium.
This was reported by the Belgian publication Business AM with reference to sources.
The tanks were in the warehouse of OIP Land Systems in Tournai. On Monday, August 7, after major repairs, the first units left for Ukraine via Germany and Italy. These tanks will also be equipped with new weapons systems.
Belgium completely retired these tanks a few years ago. Then, for the sake of greater economy, the army leadership decided to decommission all heavy tracked vehicles and replace them with lighter armored vehicles on tires. Since then, 50 Leopard 1 tanks have been in the OIP warehouse in Tournai.
Belgium did not transfer the tanks to Ukraine, "because they are too expensive to put into operation."
In January, the Belgian publication RLT wrote that there are no more tanks in the warehouses of the Belgian army: "A good ten years ago, a decision was made to resell these tanks, as they are no longer in service," said the Defense Minister Ludivine Dedonder. These tanks could be bought, but the companies made an "unreasonable markup" on them — €500 000 for each unit, "for equipment that is stored in hangars and for which no restoration work was done."
- On July 21, Germany informed that it had handed over the first 10 Leopard 1A5 tanks to Ukraine. In general, Ukraine expects more than 100 Leopard 1 tanks from the German side.
- Pentagon representative William LaPlante told reporters in July that Western partners will not focus on supplies, but on repairing the military equipment sent to Ukraine, because they realize that the war can last for months and years.