Germany wants to buy back Leopard 2 main battle tanks from Switzerland from the 1980s. A corresponding request went to the Ministry of Defense in Bern, as its spokesman Renato Kalbermatten confirmed on Friday. The newspaper “Blick” reported about it first. They are intended to replace tanks that Germany and other EU countries have supplied to Ukraine. The Swiss Ministry of Defense did not say how many tanks Germany wanted to buy.
Switzerland has 230 Leopard 2 tanks, of which 134 are in service and 96 are decommissioned. However, they were not "decommissioned", as Kalbermatten said. According to Swiss law, only decommissioned material can be sold. Parliament decides whether material is to be decommissioned.
Parliament is in its spring session. It is not certain that a decision will be made in the short term. Arms deliveries in connection with the war against Ukraine are currently being hotly debated. Referring to its neutrality, Switzerland has banned Germany and other countries from transferring Swiss ammunition to Ukraine. Whether and how this should be changed is controversial.
"From the point of view of the army, it would be possible in principle, minus the need for the full equipment of the six mechanized battalions, to do without a limited number of battle tanks," the ministry said. The prerequisite is that Parliament puts them out of service.
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