Prague, Czech Republic – The Czech Republic has discreetly sent more than a dozen T-72 tanks and armoured personnel carriers to Ukraine, becoming the first known nation in the world to do so.
Defence Minister Jana Černochová had repeatedly announced plans to step up Prague’s military aid to support the Ukrainian army against the Russian invasion but refused to disclose the details for security reasons.
Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal revealed that train shipments carrying tanks and other military material were on their way from the Czech Republic to Ukraine.
“The Czech Republic has been sending old Soviet-designed tanks into Ukraine, providing badly needed heavy weapons to outgunned Ukrainian troops that are battling a much better-equipped Russian invasion force,” the WSJ wrote, citing Czech and Slovak security officials.
Local media Echo24 published further details claiming the tanks and combat vehicles left the Czech Republic by train on Monday.
A Czech defence source also confirmed the report to Reuters.
The information has not been officially confirmed by the Czech government, which remains keen not to reveal what kind of weapons it is sending to Ukraine.
The tanks were sent by the Czech Republic as a gift to Ukrainian authorities after an agreement among NATO allies, according to the Wall Street Journal.
“There’s no NATO pressure [to supply weapons]”, reacted US ambassador to NATO Julianne Smith. “This is really an example of a sovereign decision by a sovereign state,” she said regarding the Czech move.
Many EU and NATO countries have provided weapons and military material to Ukraine since the start of Moscow’s invasion, but remain largely indecisive on whether to send offensive weapons for fear of escalation.