No tanks included in Belgium's latest aid package to Ukraine

No tanks included in Belgium's latest aid package to Ukraine
Belgium's Defence Minister, Ludivine Dedonder (PS). Credit: Dirk Waem/Belga.

Belgium's Defence Minister Ludivine Dedonder (PS) will propose sending further "substantial aid" to the Ukrainian army. Dedonder will make an official proposal to the Federal Government on Friday but has indicated that tanks will not be included in the aid as Belgium's own defence stocks are limited.

Speaking on Bel-RTL radio on Wednesday morning, Dedonder explained that tanks – which have been at the heart of recent discussions between European allies – had been sold off by the Belgian army "for €10,000 to €15,000 each," over ten years ago.

Despite Belgium's government now recognising the need to reacquire these tanks, the companies that now own them have set asking prices of around "€500,000 per vehicle."

As a result, Belgium will not be following Germany's lead, whose Chancellor Olaf Scholz has committed to sending German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, as well as to neighbouring countries such as Poland.

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Germany's announcement comes after increased pressure from European allies to make their vehicles available to help the Ukrainian defence effort, after dithering on the issue. Germany had previously argued that sending these weapons could potentially escalate the conflict and directly implicate NATO in the war.

For her part, Dedonder believes that Belgium's proposed aid, which includes "anti-aircraft and anti-tank defence, as well as ammunition", will go some way in satisfying Ukraine's demands.

Current support, not counting the anti-tank and anti-aircraft equipment mentioned on Thursday, already amounts to €90 million, Minister Dedonder added.

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