Chasing tanks he sold to a Belgian businessman. Last Minute GERMANY, Belgium, England, Russia headlines and events


While Western military aid has recently increased to Ukraine, where Russian occupation continues, Belgium, like Germany and the United States, is trying to send tanks to Ukraine. However, the Belgian authorities, who had no Leopard tanks to ship, pursued the tanks they had sold to the businessman in the past.

Businessman Freddy Versluys, whose name has often been heard in the country lately, is the owner of two different defense companies. Verslyus, which also buys and sells obsolete military vehicles and armored vehicles as part of its companies, bought the last 50 tanks left in service with the Belgian army more than five years ago.

Belgian Defense Minister Ludivine Dedonder is among those who support the view that the German-made Lepoard 1 tanks that Versluys keeps in stock could be sent to Ukraine. However, the price that Versluys paid for selling tanks to the Belgian army sparked a new debate in the country.

Minister Dedonder, who said the government was considering buying back previously sold tanks, reacted by calling Versluys’ offer “irrational” in which “500,000 euros were requested” for all the tanks, which he said cost about 10 crowns. 15 thousand euros.

In his statement on the matter, Dedoner did not name Versluys or the company that owns the tanks. However, in an interview with the Reuters news agency, businessman Versluys said he had “no doubt” that the target of Minister Dedoner’s statement was a company he owns called OIP Land Systems.

While Minister Dedoner left Reuters’ questions on the matter unanswered, Versluys, the owner of the tanks, announced that only 33 of the 50 tanks he had purchased from Belgium for around €2 million in the past were serviceable at the time of the sale. Therefore, Versluys claimed that the average price of each tank at his disposal was about 40,000 euros. Versluys announced the cost of working tanks at 60,000 euros.

Stressing that tanks must be inspected before they are put up for sale, Versluys stressed that repairs could cost hundreds of thousands of euros.

Versluys, who said that the statements of Minister Dedoner were the target, opened the doors of the warehouse in Tournai where the tanks are located to journalists “to shed light on this issue.”

Versluys, which is ready to offer Leopard 1 tanks for sale, claimed that these tanks could be transferred to the front faster than the new model Leopard 2 tanks, which other countries, including Germany, Poland and Finland, plan to send to Ukraine.

Johann Michel, an expert at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, also believes that Leopard 1 tanks will not be as functional as newer model tanks at the front, but they could be useful against some older Russian tanks and could be used to support Ukrainian infantry.

If Belgium does not buy back the tanks it sold years ago, it is also on the agenda for another country to buy these tanks from Versluys for use in Ukraine.

Versluys said that he also talked about this with the authorities of other European countries.

Last year, the UK purchased 46 armored personnel carriers from Versluys for use by private individuals in Ukraine.

However, in order for Versluys-owned Leopard 1 tanks to be shipped as part of a possible aftermarket sale, approval would be required from both the local government in the Belgian region of Wallonia, where the company is located, and Germany, the manufacturer of the Leopard 1 tanks.

Versluys, a 60-year-old businessman who expresses his displeasure when the industry he works in is interpreted as “arms dealing,” says: “Contrary to what people think, this is a very civilized industry.”

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