Berlin has reportedly approved the potential transport of dozens of Czech-owned Soviet-era armored vehicles to Kyiv
Germany has given the green light to supply 58 armored vehicles from the Cold War to Ukraine, a spokesman for the Ministry of Defense told the newspaper Welt this Friday. While infantry combat vehicles (IVFs) are currently owned by a Czech company, any attempt to transfer them to third parties still requires approval from Berlin due to the end-user agreement.
The Soviet BMP-1, the military hardware in question, was designed in the 1960s and originally belonged to what was formerly East Germany, but ended up in the German military’s inventory after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the reunification of the country. . They were transferred to Sweden in the late 1990s, where they were upgraded to a PbV-501 version.
The armored vehicles were eventually sold to the Czech Republic, which tried to send them to Ukraine in 2019, the newspaper reported. At that time, however, the company that owned the IFVs failed to get permission to do so from Berlin.
The potential delivery of the vehicles to Kyiv is not expected to be realized immediately, as the IFVs still require maintenance and repair. The process is likely to take a few weeks, the newspaper said.
Until now, Germany has refrained from supplying Ukraine with heavy military hardware, sticking to supplies of armor and helmets, as well as man-portable anti-aircraft and anti-tank systems.
Moscow attacked the neighboring state in late February, following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements signed in 2014, and Russia’s final recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The German and French mediated Minsk Protocol was designed to regulate the status of the regions of the Ukrainian state.
Russia has now demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kyiv insists that the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims that it planned to retake the two republics by force.