The Austrian Ministry of Defence has announced that it will not provide Ukrainian soldiers with Leopard 2 tank training.
The announcement comes amid calls from the global community to help Kyiv’s forces as they receive the much-awaited Leopard tanks from Germany and other NATO allies.
Defense minister Claudia Tanner said in a written statement that the refusal to help the war-torn nation is a “sovereign decision” within the framework of Austrian law.
Vienna’s interpretation of “neutrality” is more strict than other neutral countries in Europe such as Ireland, which offered to train Ukrainian military personnel in demining.
“We prefer to live with this vestige of neutrality instead of testing the limits that the law sees less narrowly,” international law expert Ralf Yanik told a local television site.
Austria currently has one tank battalion with 48 Leopard 2 main battle tanks.
Austria’s Concept of Neutrality
Austria’s decision is bound by the “military neutrality” concept wherein it should not, in any way, send arms or military services to countries involved in a direct conflict.
Switzerland shares the same stance, as demonstrated in a recent move to block Spain from sending Swiss-made anti-aircraft guns to Ukraine.
South Korea also has a “no export” policy to countries in conflict and has been under pressure from allies to reconsider its decision.