Czech Republic sends tanks, infantry fighting vehicles to Ukraine
PRAGUE, April 5 (Reuters) - The Czech Republic has sent T-72 tanks and BVP-1 infantry fighting vehicles to Ukraine, a Czech defence source told Reuters on Tuesday, confirming a local media report.
Public broadcaster Czech Television initially reported the shipment, showing footage on Twitter of a train loaded with five tanks and five fighting vehicles. It said the shipment was a gift agreed with NATO allies.
The broadcaster said the information was confirmed by the head of the Czech lower house's European Affairs Committee Ondrej Benesik, who told Reuters he received the information from his Christian Democrat Party's expert on defence.
The source, from the Czech defence community, also confirmed that the tanks and fighting vehicles had been sent but declined to give any further details, citing security concerns.
Defence Minister Jana Cernochova told parliament she would not confirm or deny details of Czech aid to Ukraine.
"I will only assure you that the Czech Republic ... is helping Ukraine as much as it can and will continue to help by (supplying) military equipment, both light and heavy," Cernochova said.
A spokesperson for the Defence Ministry said the Czech Republic had sent military aid worth nearly 1 billion crowns ($45 million) to Ukraine since the beginning of the war on Feb. 24 but declined to give any further details.
The Czech vehicles are only the latest example of military equipment coming from the West. Germany on April 1 approved the delivery to Ukraine of several dozen infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) amid criticism that Berlin has not been sending enough military aid to Kyiv. read more
NATO allies will discuss the delivery of more weapons to Ukraine when foreign ministers meet on Wednesday and Thursday, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said.
($1 = 22.1960 Czech crowns)
Reporting by Robert Muller and Jan Lopatka; Editing by David Goodman and David Holmes
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