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Dozens of Leopard 1 tanks might undergo refurbishment and be dispatched to Ukraine, following a purchase by an undisclosed buyer from a private Belgian dealer, according to the Washington Post.
Belgian dealer Freddy Versluys, who is a chief executive of the defense company OIP Land Systems, obtained the tanks years back as the Belgian army undertook cost-cutting actions that involved selling off these vehicles.
Versluys chose not to share the price paid for the tanks or any additional particulars about the transaction. Nonetheless, he objected to claims indicating that he had insisted on 500,000 euros for each vehicle, noting that he had acquired them for 15,000 euros each.
In early 2023, Belgian Defense Minister Ludivine Dedonder disclosed Belgium's interest in repurchasing the Leopards. However, she pointed out that the price quoted was considered "unreasonable."
The arrival date of the tanks in Ukraine, along with the viability after they get refurbishment, remains unclear. Handelsblatt, a German newspaper, reported that a significant number of the Leopards were in such dire condition that their use was limited to providing spare parts.
Two days ago, the personality of the unknown buyer of Leopards was unveiled, and it was the German arms manufacturer Rheinmetall. The tanks were bought with the intention of including them in the upcoming export to Kyiv.