Switzerland to investigate failed attempt to sell Leopard tanks to Ukraine

22 August, 01:51 AM
Tank Leopard 1 (Photo:Rainer Lippert/Wikipedia)

Tank Leopard 1 (Photo:Rainer Lippert/Wikipedia)

Switzerland has initiated an investigation into defense contractor RUAG following an unsuccessful attempt to sell Ukraine nearly 100 Leopard-1 tanks, Bloomberg reported on Aug. 21, citing the Swiss Defense Ministry. 

The Defense Ministry has asked independent auditors to look into the contentious deal with Germany’s Rheinmetall AG, which was halted on the grounds of violating Switzerland's neutrality. The ministry also expressed the need for a reform in the relationship between the company and the government.

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RUAG had intended to sell Leopard-1 tanks to Rheinmetall, a company that planned to refurbish them and ship the vehicles to Ukraine. However, the Swiss authorities halted the deal in June.

The report mentions that with national elections in Switzerland being held in October, this investigation could further draw attention to the issue of the country's neutrality.

According to the agency, former RUAG CEO Brigitte Beck stepped down after proposing to European countries to send Swiss weapons to Ukraine, arguing that Switzerland would not use them. Meanwhile, the next CEO, Nicolas Perrin, stated that the country may need to reassess its foreign policy "in an increasingly connected world."

This prompted the right-wing Swiss People's Party to assert that neutrality is the reason behind the country's peace and stability, and that this doctrine shouldn't be subject to debate.

On June 28, the Swiss Federal Council rejected RUAG’s application to sell 96 Leopard-1A5 main battle tanks for use in Ukraine.

On July 20, Voice of America reported that the United States and Switzerland top the list of countries manufacturing high-tech components for Russian weapons, which are then used against Ukraine.

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