Czechia requests Leopard 2 tanks from Switzerland

The Czech Republic has asked to buy an unspecified number of 1980s Leopard 2 tanks from Switzerland, the Czech News Agency reported on Monday evening, citing Swiss Defense Minister Viola Amherd.

Last week, Germany also requested the purchase of Leopard 2 tanks from the Ministry of Defence in Bern. As Switzerland does not allow the transfer of military equipment to a country at war in order to preserve its neutrality, Berlin has assured Switzerland that the tanks will not be re-exported to Ukraine. The same rule should also apply to Czechia's request.

However, according to the Czech News Agency, the sale of the Swiss-owned German-made tanks could allow Czechia and Germany to increase aid to Ukraine, as they could use the tanks to replace machines already delivered or promised to Kyiv.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine, the debate about the supply of arms has been heated in Switzerland. The Alpine country, which is not part of the EU, has accepted all sanctions imposed by Brussels against Moscow, but insists on its military neutrality. Although Kyiv and its allies have urged the Swiss government to allow the re-export of arms and ammunition to Ukraine, it has so far dismissed these requests. Various attempts to change these rules continue in parliament, but a decision is not expected for several months.

Author: Anna Fodor