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Media: Rheinmetall purchases 50 Leopard 1 tanks, will supply 30 to Ukraine

by Martin Fornusek and The Kyiv Independent news desk August 8, 2023 11:39 PM 2 min read
Ukrainian tank crews receiving training on Leopard 1A5 tanks near Klietz, Germany, on May 5, 2023. (Photo credit: Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
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The German arms manufacturer Rheinmetall was identified as the previously unknown buyer who recently purchased 50 Leopard 1 tanks from the Belgian company OIP Land Systems, the Handelsblatt newspaper reported on Aug. 8.

The company purchased the tanks as part of its future exports of armored vehicles to Kyiv. The vehicles will be refitted in Germany, and around 30 of them will be delivered to Ukraine, Handelsblatt said, citing industry sources.

Belgian newspaper De Standaard reported on Aug. 7 that a secret buyer purchased 50 Leopard 1 tanks from a private company in Belgium to donate to Kyiv. Handelsblatt did not specify why only 30 are being currently prepared to be shipped to Ukraine.

The tanks come from the stockpile owned by Freddy Versluys, CEO of Belgian defense company OIP Land Systems, who bought 50 tanks a decade ago when the Belgian military sold them to reduce expenditures.

Belgian Defense Minister Ludivine Dedonder announced in January 2023 that the government wanted to buy the tanks to donate to Ukraine. However, Dedonder said the asking price was "unreasonable," a claim Versluys denied.

Handelsblatt reported in April that Rheinmetall is preparing to supply 50 Leopard 1 tanks to Ukraine, citing the company's CEO.

The German government has already begun supplying Leopard 1 tanks to the Ukrainian military as part of the package that should include at least 100 of these vehicles.

Media: Secret buyer purchases Leopard tanks from private Belgian stockpile for Ukraine
Belgian newspaper De Standaard reported on Aug. 7 that a secret buyer purchased 50 Leopard 1 tanks from a private company in Belgium to donate to Kyiv.
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