Several dozen older T-72 tanks and infantry fighting vehicles traveled from the Czech Republic by train to Ukraine on Monday in the form of a gift from the Czech army, which Czechia agreed on with NATO allies.
Czechia indicates that Ukrainian soldiers are trained to handle the technology, and the vehicles are supposed to help them defend the country.
According to the editorial staff, these are older types of non-modernized T-72 tanks, which had Czech active reserves in their equipment. The army had about 90 pieces in stock. In addition, it actively operates only about 30 modernized machines.
Old Czechoslovak-made infantry fighting vehicles (BVP-1) were also transported to Ukraine. However, these weapons should not be confused with the already announced delivery of 56 modern armored vehicles (PbV-501) originally produced by Germany, the export of which was approved by the German government last week.
Czechia was one of the few countries that could provide this weapons technology to Ukraine. Of other countries, Slovakia has such vehicles, however, it only has a minimal number of tanks. Hungary does as well but continues to boycott the supply of weapons to Ukraine or allow their transport through its territory. Poland also has many of these tanks, but it does not yet supply these weapons to Ukraine.
“The T-72 tanks in the M1 version are old, but this is paradoxically an advantage. Ukrainians know how to control them and manage all systems. There is no need for them to retrain. The same goes for BVP-1. If anyone sent modern technology there, it would take at least days, but rather weeks or months of training. And they don’t have the time now, so they’re happy for the technology they know well,” explains security and military analyst Lukáš Visingr.
Czech news outlet Echo24 published information about the transfer of tanks and BVPs to Ukraine since Monday morning when the equipment was being loaded. Due to a possible threat to national security and the urging of the Czech general staff, the news outlet decided to cover the topic later. Nevertheless, photographs of uncovered armored vehicles began to spread on the internet during the night.
It is one of the first supplies of heavy military equipment from NATO countries since the beginning of the conflict in Ukraine. According to the information of the editorial office, the transfers of mobile anti-aircraft systems Strela-10 were already seen in Czech territory last week. Although the supply of heavy equipment was to be kept strictly classified, Ondřej Benešík, chairman of the House Committee on European Affairs, spoke publicly on Tuesday morning about the transfer.