BERLIN — Germany desires to purchase mothballed Leopard 2 battle tanks from Switzerland to interchange tanks that Berlin and its Western allies are sending to Ukraine, the Swiss authorities mentioned Friday.
The Swiss Protection Ministry mentioned that Germany’s protection and economic system ministers wrote on Feb. 23 to Swiss Protection Minister Viola Amherd, setting out German producer Rheinmetall’s curiosity in shopping for Leopard 2 tanks that the Swiss military doesn’t plan to place again into service.
They assured Amherd that the tanks, if purchased, wouldn’t be despatched to Ukraine and can be utilized by Germany or its NATO and European companions to fill the gaps in their very own shares created by their donations of tanks to Kyiv and to enhance the supply of alternative components.
That’s a problem as a result of Switzerland has a protracted custom of neutrality. Germany up to now has been unable to influence the Swiss to supply provides from their stockpile of ammunition for Gepard self-propelled anti-aircraft weapons that Berlin offered to Ukraine.
The ministry, in an emailed response to a question after Swiss every day Blick reported on the request, didn’t specify what number of tanks Germany wish to purchase. Switzerland has 230 of the German-made Leopard 2 tanks, 96 of which aren’t in operation, in keeping with German information company dpa.
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Amherd this week responded to the German authorities that any sale would require a call by the Swiss parliament to declare the tanks formally faraway from service, and that whereas there are discussions in parliament, no such resolution has but been made.
Her ministry mentioned that the military has decided that in precept it could be attainable to do and not using a “restricted quantity” of battle tanks.
Germany is offering 18 of its personal army’s Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, and they’re anticipated to be delivered later this month. Along with tanks offered by Sweden and Portugal, they’ll make up a battalion. Poland and different international locations are also offering Leopard 2 tanks.
Germany’s protection minister has pushed for the tanks to get replaced as shortly as attainable.
German Protection Ministry spokesman Arne Collatz confirmed Germany’s curiosity within the tanks from Switzerland however mentioned there had been no dialogue but of what number of tanks could be concerned.
Requested whether or not related queries have been made to different international locations, Collatz replied that “we’re in fixed contact and good talks with many companions.” He didn’t elaborate.
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