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Belgium wants its tanks back - it will be expensive: "Demand 500,000 euros, we sold for 15,000"


Eight years ago, Belgium sold its main battle tanks. Now she wants the government back to support Ukraine. But that will be expensive.

Eight years ago, Belgium sold its main battle tanks.

Now she wants the government back to support Ukraine.

But that will be expensive.

BRUSSELS – Hardly a day goes by when Ukraine doesn't request support with military equipment.

Now several EU countries have pledged help;

Germany, for example, is supplying 14 Leopard 2 tanks.

Neighboring Belgium, on the other hand, has not yet sent any battle tanks to Ukraine: the country has simply sold its stocks.

Or sold off?

Tanks for Ukraine: Belgium wants Leopards back: “extremely expensive”

In 2015, Belgium exchanged its battle tanks for wheeled tanks.

Such vehicles are usually only intended for military transport, they are unsuitable for use in war.

The battle tanks went to the arms dealer Freddy Versluys, among others.

He bought dozens of Leopard 1 tanks from the Belgian army.

Such tanks could help Ukraine.

According to consistent Belgian media reports, the government in Brussels is now considering buying back the vehicles.

The price issue stands in the way of the plans. "The proposals that we have received so far are extremely expensive," Belgian Defense Minister Ludivine Dedonder told Belgian broadcaster VRT.

“They charge up to 500,000 euros for a tank that we sold for 15,000 euros.

And they are still in the same bad shape as they were then.”


Ludivine Dedonder is a member of the Socialist Party and has been Secretary of Defense under Prime Minister Alexander De Croo since 2020.


Dispute over Belgium tanks: “What do you want?

Do you want to take them for free?”

According to expert assessments to VRT, however, the bill is in order.

It is simply the current market price.

Versluys also argues with repair costs that he put into the tanks.

"New tracks?

120,000 euros.

Do you have the engine checked?

185,000 euros.

New shock absorbers?

36,000 euros.

fire extinguishing pipe system?

500,000 euros.

What do you want, do you want to take her for free?"

Another problem: The tanks would have to be checked beforehand.

Thorough maintenance could delay the delivery time.

However, it is necessary, says arms dealer Versluys.

"I wouldn't advise anyone to just send the tanks to Ukraine like that," the tank owner told Belgian radio.

“If they are sent to war, they must be reliable.

We don't want them to collapse right away."

At the same time, bureaucratic hurdles made rapid delivery difficult.

Minister Dedonder - in office since 2020 - meanwhile defended the sale of the battle tanks.

The government made its decision based on the geopolitical situation at the time.

"The lighter armored vehicles are better in Africa, for example." "The government did not expect another war to break out on the European continent," Dedonder said.


Among others in Belgian stock: the German ATF Dingo.

The all-protection transport vehicle Dingo is used to transport soldiers.

With the weapon system on the roof, targets can be fought under armor protection

© IMAGO/Sven Eckelkamp

Meanwhile, Ukraine is also demanding jets after battle tanks, Siko boss Christoph Heusgen has already spoken out in favor of this.

The Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister Andriy Melnyk, on the other hand, wants a German submarine for Kyiv.

"Hey guys, I know I'm in for a shitstorm with this, but I have another creative idea," the ex-ambassador wrote on Twitter on Sunday.


Source: merkur

All news articles on 2023-01-30

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