On August 7, the first Leopard 1 tanks, purchased by an unnamed country, were shipped from Belgium to Ukraine.
The Belgian media Business AM reported this.
The 50 tanks were decommissioned by the Belgian army several years ago. Under the pressure of additional savings, the army leadership decided to decommission all heavy-tracked vehicles and replace them with lighter armoured wheeled vehicles.
However, the tanks were never included in the equipment supplied by Belgium to Ukraine. According to Defence Minister Ludivine Dedonder, they are too expensive to be put into service.
“Work has been done to patch them back up, but the company is now asking for up to €500,000 per vehicle. I understand that work is not free, but the margin is excessive,” she said earlier this year.
Belgium sold the tanks to OIP Systems for only €15,000 each, which is the price of old iron. The army did not have enough hangars to store the decommissioned vehicles, so they sold them at dumping costs.
However, experts say that half a million euros is simply the market value of these vehicles, which have been in high demand in recent months, especially for donations to Ukraine.
An unnamed country decided to buy Leopard 1 tanks. After a thorough refurbishment, the first vehicles are on their way to Ukraine via Germany and Italy. On the way, they will be equipped with new weapons systems.
It is not disclosed which country purchased the vehicles. So far, only Germany, Denmark, and the Netherlands have announced that they will donate Leopard 1 tanks bought from the industry to Ukraine.
In late July, Germany reported on a new batch of military aid delivered to Ukraine, including ten Leopard 1 A5 tanks.
At the same time, many vehicles remain in storage for the time being, including Gepard anti-aircraft tanks. These are particularly sought because, in Ukraine, they have proved to be efficient equipment to shoot Russian drones out of the sky.
Western modern military equipment and weapons, along with the heroism of Ukrainian soldiers, help Ukraine to repel Russian assaults, push the invading troops back on the occupied territories, and protect cities and civilian infrastructure from Russian drone and missile attacks.