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Czechs team up with US and Netherlands to modernise tanks for Ukraine

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Prague, Czech Republic – The United States and the Netherlands will jointly pay for the renovation of 90 Czech T-72 tanks to be sent to the Ukrainian Army, Pentagon press secretary Sabrina Singh announced late last week.

Washington’s financial help is included in the US Administration’s latest $400 million military aid package for Ukraine, while the Netherlands said it earmarked €45 million for the renovation.

“Introducing a new battle tank is extremely costly, it’s time sensitive and it would be a huge undertaking for Ukrainian forces,” Singh said to explain why the Pentagon decided against sending US-made tanks directly.

“These [Soviet-made T-72] tanks, we believe, will make a difference on the battlefield.”

At least two dozen tanks – coming from undisclosed Czech defence companies rather than the Czech armed forces – should be sent to Ukraine before the end of the year.

A spokesman for the Czech Ministry of Defence described the deal as “a huge success of international negotiations to help Ukraine” fight off Russia’s invasion.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba thanked all three countries for their “unwavering solidarity”.

The Czech Republic has been one of Ukraine’s foremost allies since the beginning of the Russian invasion, providing humanitarian help to hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian refugees and actively supporting Kyiv’s stance on the global stage.

Prague has donated weapons and military equipment worth about 4.5 billion Kc since the end of February, including some Soviet-era T-72 tanks.

“It is extremely important that we do this,” Dutch Defence Minister Kajsa Ollongren commented on the three-way deal.

“That we show that as long as Russia continues with this illegal war and with winter approaching, [Ukrainians] can continue to count on their partners.”

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