A report reveals that Switzerland’s executive branch backed a request to decommission 25 retired Leopard 2 combat tanks, which the German government wanted to be returned to the German producer to help fill holes in Berlin’s inventory after it sold tanks to Ukraine.
A legislative security-policy committee has proposed decommissioning the tanks and re-exporting them to Germany, and the Federal Council, Switzerland’s seven-member executive body, has declared it supports the plan. In an address to the House of Representatives next month, Defense Minister Viola Amherd is anticipated to back the idea.
In addition to the blessing of the Swiss economic minister, approval for such a re-export would be needed from the upper house during its September session. Tanks would be delivered if they were guaranteed not to end up in Ukraine and instead returned to their maker, Rheinmetall.
The report shows Switzerland has struggled to maintain its longstanding, legally required devotion to neutrality in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. This neutrality includes a ban on the shipment of Swiss-made/owned armament or war materiel to combatants in ongoing hostilities.
Switzerland, however, has joined the EU in imposing penalties on Russian persons and companies as a result of the invasion. The Swiss army operates 134 recently updated Leopard-2 A4 WE tanks and stores 96 older models in storage for future use.
Swiss officials said that Germany’s economics and military ministries contacted them in February to inquire about reselling the tanks to Rheinmetall. In a joint statement, the ministers vowed to maintain the armored vehicles in Germany or with EU or NATO allies.
Ukraine now has 18 Leopard 2A6 tanks at its disposal.
According to Military Today, the Leopard 2A6 is a significantly upgraded variant with better shielding and an extended 120 mm/L55 cannon, as reported by Military Today.
Greece, Germany, Canada, the Netherlands, Spain, and Portugal all use this tank in their armies.