Ukraine is getting more tanks to fight Russia: On Monday, Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala shared a photo on Twitter that showed him signing the gun of a Czech T-72 main battle tank set to be handed over to the Ukrainian military.
“I wrote a short message to the brave Ukrainian defenders about the T-72 tank that will go to Ukraine,” Fiala wrote, adding, “I believe that the Ukrainians will win in their fight against the Russian aggressors.” The tweet had been seen more than 161,000 times by Monday afternoon. Fiala previously shared a photo of his visit to Excalibur Army, one of the defense enterprises in the Czech Republic where Soviet-era MBTs are being modernized before being sent to Ukraine.
In exchange, the Czech military will receive new German-made Leopard II MBTs.
As previously reported, some 150 refugees have been hired by the Czech-based Excalibur Army to modernize old military equipment from around the world. The upgraded equipment is then shipped to Ukraine.
Czech Mate for Ukraine
The firm is also modernizing DANA self-propelled howitzers and RM-70 multiple-launch missile systems. Both of those platforms have been supplied to the Ukrainian military.
“The largest contract that Excalibur Army is working on in this area is the supply of modernized T-72 tanks to Ukraine, which is jointly financed by the USA and the Netherlands,” the Czech prime minister told reporters. “This cooperation has advantages for all parties involved. NATO strengthens the capabilities of the brave defenders of Ukraine, whose success depends on global security, and the Czech Republic receives benefits for its defense industry.”
Last November, the Ministry of Defense of the Czech Republic and Ukroboronprom, the Ukrainian state-owned defense conglomerate, announced the establishment of a joint defense cluster for the production of military equipment and ammunition. They also agreed to cooperate in repair and development.
In addition, a crowd-funding effort in the Czech Republic collected more than one million euros to purchase a modernized T-72 for Ukraine. The tank was named “Tomas” in honor of the first president of Czechoslovakia, Tomas Masaryk. Donations came from more than 11,288 individuals.
The Ukrainian ambassador in Prague, Yevhen Perebyynis, responded via a tweet: “The Czech Republic has become the first country where ordinary people bought a tank for [the Ukrainian Defense Ministry].”
Keeping Russia Off the Doorstep
It was just last August that Petr Fiala, along with Slovakian Prime Minister Eduard Heger, made a joint pledge – on the 54th anniversary of the Soviet invasion into Czechoslovakia to suppress the “Prague Spring” – to support Ukraine.
“By supporting Ukraine, we support our own security. We don’t want Russia to become our neighbor,” Slovak Prime Minister Eduard Heger said.
“Remembering history, we learn from it so that it can never happen again,” Fiala added.
Author Experience and Expertise: A Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.