Until now, the shipment of anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles to Ukraine, in addition to light weapons, had been reported. The Czechs have gone the extra mile.
This Tuesday, The Wall Street Journal and Reuters have reported the shipment of "dozens" of T-72 main battle tanks and BVP-1 infantry fighting vehicles from the Czech Army to Ukraine, a military aid that the Czech Government has not wanted to confirm. and that it would have been done very discreetly. Ceska Televize and OSINTdefender have shown images of that shipment, by rail.
The Czech Army has 86 T-72M1 tanks, of Soviet origin, and 30 T-72M4CZ, a version of the same model modernized in the Czech Republic. Of the 86 Czech T-72M1s, only 20 were active, the rest remaining in storage to date. The Ukrainian Army already had T-72 main battle tanks, so they do not have to train their crews to handle a new model when they receive the Czech tanks.
In turn, the Czech Army has 145 BVP-1 infantry fighting vehicles, a version of the famous Soviet BMP-1 model manufactured in the former Czechoslovakia. All Czech Army BVP-1s were in storage, serving as reserve vehicles. As with the T-72, the Ukrainian Army is also very familiar with the BMP-1, as it had more than a thousand of these vehicles before the Russian invasion.
The shipment of those T-72s and BVP-1s to Ukraine is the first confirmed delivery of armored vehicles to Ukraine by a Western country since the start of the Russian invasion on February 24. There are other NATO countries that also have vehicles of this type, for having belonged to the Warsaw Pact in the past. Poland has 382 T-72s (part of them in storage), as well as 232 PT-91 Twardys, a local modernized version of the T-72, and about 800 BWP-1 infantry fighting vehicles, the Polish version of the BMP-1.
Bulgaria also has a considerable number of T-72s, with 160 in service and 250 in storage, as well as a hundred BMP-1s. Romania has an older armored fleet, with some 220 T-55s (already very obsolete), of which 108 are in service (the rest are in storage). In addition, the Romanian Army has more than 200 TR-85s, a modernized version of the T-55, and 12 TR-580s, another variant of the same tank. Romania also has more than a hundred MLI-84s, the local version of the BMP-1.
Slovakia has a very small armored fleet, with 20 T-72M1s and 69 BVP-1s, plus a further 236 BVP-1s in storage. In turn, Croatia has 72 M-84s, the Yugoslav variant of the T-72, and fewer than a hundred BVP M-80s, the Yugoslav equivalent of the BMP-1. Finally, Slovenia only has 14 M-84s, 30 M-55s (a variant of the now outdated T-55) and 52 BVP M-80s. The Albanian and Montenegrin Armored Forces are very small, while Hungary has already announced that it does not want to send weapons to Ukraine.
Other countries may have already shipped tanks to Ukraine, but have not announced it. Certainly, it's hard to keep something as flashy as a trainload of tanks headed for Ukraine a secret. In any case, the discretion of these shipments would make it possible to avoid the frustrated delivery of the MiG-29 to Ukraine due to an indiscretion by the European Commissioner for Foreign Affairs, the Spanish socialist Josep Borrell.
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