Michael MacKay, Radio Lemberg, 04.10.2018
The Ukrainian army is getting the weapons it needs to defend the homeland from Russian aggression. On October 3, tanks and armoured personnel carriers and military trucks were handed over to the Armed Forces of Ukraine at a ceremony in Kharkiv. Refurbished and new armament is turning the Ukrainian army from an ineffective hold-over Soviet-era force to a formidable leader of the defence of Europe from the invasion by Muscovy in Crimea and Donbas.
The Ukrainian Army received 16 modernized T-80 and T-64BV tanks, that were fully restored at the state-owned “Malyshev Plant” in Kharkiv. New features in the tanks are an improved automatic fire control system with a laser rangefinder and a complex of guided missile weapons. Five new generation BTR-4 armoured personnel carriers were delivered, the work of Kharkiv’s Morozov Machine Building Design Bureau. These Ukrainian-designed and built APCs are said to offer the best troop protection currently available to the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
The Secretary of the National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine, Oleksandr Turchynov, took delivery of the tanks and APCs and trucks. He also viewed some of the latest weapons developed by Ukraine’s defence sector: the “Verba” next-generation BM-21 Grad multiple launch rocket system; the Sapsan short-range ballistic missile system; the BTR-4MB1 armoured personnel carrier (which meets NATO standards); and the T-84 Oplot-M main battle tank. In his remarks at the hand-over ceremony, Secretary Turchynov said that Ukrainian defence enterprises “make us stronger and [bring us] closer to Ukraine’s victory.”
In a statement on social media announcing the hand over of tanks, APCs and trucks in Kharkiv, the President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, said that “the new Ukrainian army is getting stronger every day.”
In the first quarter of 2018, the Ukrainian state-owned defence enterprise “Ukroboronprom” completed delivery of T-84 Oplot-M main battle tanks to Thailand. While some might have wished for this advanced heavy armour to have gone to the battlefront in Donbas, the delivery to Thailand gained substantial export earnings for Ukraine’s defence sector and solidified Ukraine’s reputation as a reliable defence contractor. Ukraine seeks further opportunities for armament exports, but in the meanwhile its expanded defence production capacity is being turned to the war to defend Ukraine from invasion by the Russian Federation.
Wednesday’s announcement is one of a long string of such announcements. New and newly-refurbished armaments and military equipment is being delivered constantly, not only to the Armed Forces of Ukraine in general but to the Joint Forces Operation in particular. The Joint Forces Operation (JFO) is the massive military-civilian partnership in Luhansk and Donetsk regions that is holding the invasion-occupation army from Muscovy at bay. Ultimately, the JFO will liberate Donbas. Then it’s on to Crimea.