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Almost 100 Leopard 1s stored in the open in Italy as Switzerland blocked their transfer to Ukraine

A Swiss public broadcaster published the first photos of about 100 Swiss-owned tanks that were to be sold to Germany for the transfer to Ukraine, but Switzerland’s government rejected the sale.
Swiss-owned Leopard 1 tanks in Gorizia, Italy. There are at least 95 tanks, arranged in nine rows. Photo: RSI
Almost 100 Leopard 1s stored in the open in Italy as Switzerland blocked their transfer to Ukraine

The Swiss public broadcasting organization RSI published the first photos of the Leopard 1 tanks stored in Italy, belonging to the Swiss state-owned company RUAG. Recently, the company wanted to sell the tanks to Germany for Ukraine, but the Swiss government rejected the sale.

RSI obtained the first photos of RUAg’s Leopard 1s covered with green tarps and parked in an open-air depot near Gorizia, northeastern Italy. 

“There are at least 95 of them, arranged in nine regular rows. Almost all of the tanks – except for three vehicles – are protected by tarpaulins that fail to conceal their precise shape and thus their model: these are the ‘Leopard 1s’ purchased in 2016 from RUAG. Old vehicles that the Italian army wanted to get rid of,” RSI wrote.

RUAG had bought 100 of the Leopard 1s, and those remained unused for years, neither dismantled for spare parts nor reconditioned. The contract signed by RUAG obliged the Swiss company to transfer them to the Goriziane company by the end of 2017. Since then, they have remained here, in northeastern Italy.

Swiss-owned Leopard 1 tanks in Italy. Photo: RSI

RSI says the tarpaulins make it impossible to assess whether they are rusty scrap metal or combat-ready tanks. 

According to RSI, Germany, the Netherlands, and Denmark, among others, were to buy them from Switzerland and ship them to Ukraine. A contract obtained by RSI had already been signed: RUAG would sell them to Rheinmetall, but it was subject to approval by the Swiss government, which eventually rejected the sale.x

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