Germany approves supply of 1960s military hardware to Ukraine – media
Germany has given the green light to supply 58 Cold War-era armored vehicles to Ukraine, a spokesman for the Defense Ministry told the Welt newspaper on Friday. While the infantry fighting vehicles (IVFs) are currently owned by a Czech firm, 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 inventory of the German military 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 ultimately sold to the Czech Republic, which tried to pass them onto Ukraine in 2019, the newspaper reported. At the time, however, the company that owned the IFVs failed to secure permission to do so from Berlin.
The potential delivery of the vehicles to Kiev is not expected to materialize immediately, as the IFVs still require maintenance and repair. The process will likely take a few weeks, the newspaper said.
So far, Germany has abstained from supplying Ukraine with heavy military hardware, sticking to deliveries of personnel 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 eventual recognition of the Donbass republics in Donetsk and Lugansk. The German and French brokered Minsk Protocol was designed to regularize the status of the regions within 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. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force.