According to a Swiss newspaper report, the armaments group Rheinmetall wants to buy Leopard 1 tanks from the Swiss armaments company Ruag. It is about 96 used tanks that are not ready for use and that Ruag bought in Italy in 2016, the newspaper “Tages-Anzeiger” reported on Saturday. The vehicles are also still in Italy.
"Rheinmetall wanted to buy the vehicles and made it transparent that they would be delivered to Ukraine after they had been processed," the newspaper quoted a RUAG spokeswoman as saying. Ruag asked the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs for a non-binding preliminary clarification, but this was rejected. Initially, no comments were available from either Ruag or Rheinmetall.
On Friday it became known that Germany wants to buy mothballed Leopard 2 main battle tanks from Switzerland. The tanks should not be forwarded to Ukraine, but should remain in Germany or other NATO and EU countries, according to a letter from Federal Defense Minister Boris Pistorius and Economics Minister Robert Habeck to Swiss Defense Minister Viola Amherd. This would fill gaps created by the sale of tanks to Ukraine.
The Leopard 1 is the predecessor of the Leopard 2. It is lighter and has a shorter range.