EU Country Buys 49 Decommissioned Belgian Leopard Tanks for Ukraine

An EU country has contracted Belgian company OIP Land Systems to deliver 49 Leopard 1 main battle tanks for Ukraine to defend against the Russian invasion.

Vehicles included in the order were previously operated by the Belgian military, OIP Land Systems CEO Freddy Versluys told The Guardian. He did not disclose the buying country and contract price due to a confidentiality clause.

Work for the project will take approximately six months before the vehicles are shipped to Ukraine. Currently, an overhaul of the tanks is underway. Some of the tanks will be used for spare parts, while the remaining ones will be repaired.

The company expects up to 1 million euros ($1.1 million) in renovation costs for each tank throughout the effort.

“The fact that they leave our company proves that we asked for a fair market price and someone was more than happy to take them. I am glad they will finally join the fight for freedom,” Versluys wrote on LinkedIn.

In 2014, the company acquired 50 decommissioned Leopard 1s from the Belgian government at 37,000 euros ($40,600) each.

Potential German Contract

An insider said that the EU buyer is possibly a “major German defense player.”

A separate report from the German newspaper Handelsblatt said defense solutions provider Rheinmetall was the unknown buyer.

Neither the company nor the German Ministry of Defense released any statement regarding these reports.

Leopard Tank Donations to Ukraine

Denmark and the Netherlands signed a partnership in April to supply Kyiv with 14 Leopard 2 tanks. The same month, eight Leopard 2 tanks promised by Canada arrived.

Last March, Ukraine received 18 Leopard tanks from Germany in addition to Challenger tanks from the UK.

Ukraine currently expects 10 additional Leopard tanks committed by Poland and six from Spain.

Leopard training
Ukrainian soldiers receive training on German-made Leopard 2 battle tanks in Spain. Photo: Oscar Del Pozo/AFP

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