Russia says Czechia sent Moroccan-owned tanks to Ukraine without its consent

The Czech Foreign Ministry and a Czech arms company call the Russian account of events disinformation.


Written by ČTK Published on 18.04.2023 09:39:00 (updated on 18.04.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

The Czech Republic seized Moroccan-owned tanks that were upgraded in its territory and transferred them to Ukraine, according to Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, whose comments were reported by Russian news agency TASS.

Czech Foreign Ministry spokesman Daniel Drake disputed the account. "We regret to see that the Russian Foreign Ministry has become a ministry of lies and war," Drake told ČTK.

Zakharova tried to link the transfer to World War II. "We consider this egregious case to be yet further evidence of the hostile anti-Russian course pursued by the Czech authorities, within the framework of which Prague does not hesitate to stoop to violating fundamental provisions of international law regulating arms trade, and to seize the property of others," she said.

"We observe with regret that the sad experience of World War II is being repeated, when Czech enterprises, being a part of the military-industrial complex of Nazi Germany, indefatigably supplied the Third Reich with armaments for prosecuting its war against the Soviet Union," she added.

"It looks like the current leadership of the Czech Republic has learned nothing from history, as they have eagerly turned their country into one of the primary sites for the production, repair, and modernization of military equipment to be sent to Kyiv's neo-Nazi regime," she said.

Zakharova said the goals of the collective West seemed clear: help drag the conflict in Ukraine on and inflict maximum damage on Russia, even if it means fighting "to the last Ukrainian."

The Russian spokeswoman said that even before the outbreak of the conflict, Morocco concluded a contract with the Czech company Excalibur Army for the modernization of 130 T-72B tanks, which Morocco bought in Belarus at the turn of the century. 

According to Zakharova, 56 tanks were returned to Morocco after modernization, and the Czech side "de facto expropriated" the remaining 74 tanks in order to hand them over to Ukraine. The Moroccans "were faced with a fait accompli." 

This also made them, in the eyes of the Belarusians, guilty of non-compliance with the obligation not to transfer the tanks to a third party without the consent of the supplier.

"It makes no sense to comment on disinformation," Excalibur Army spokesman Andrej Čírtek told ČTK.

The attempt to link the transfer to World War II fits in with Russia's narrative of why it started the war in Ukraine. Russia says its military operation in Ukraine was necessary to "denazify" the country. Ukraine and the West consider the Russian invasion an unprovoked aggression.

It is estimated that the fighting claimed the lives of tens of thousands of soldiers and thousands of civilians and forced millions of people out of their homes.

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