Russia warns Czechia against supplying Ukraine with weapons of Soviet origin

As the Czech Republic continues to arm Ukraine, Russia has told the country that it cannot transfer Soviet-made weapons without its consent.

Jason Pirodsky

Written by Jason Pirodsky Published on 16.04.2022 14:23:00 (updated on 07.05.2022) Reading time: 2 minutes

Through a diplomatic letter, Russia has warned the Czech Republic against supplying other countries with weapons of Soviet origin without its consent, Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský told journalists this afternoon.

Lipavský called the Russian demand "nonsense," and said the Czech Foreign Ministry would not react to it. There is no clause banning re-export of weapons from the former Soviet Union, he added.

Earlier this week, Russia officially warned the United States and other countries that supporting Ukraine with military aid would prolong the conflict and could cause "unforeseeable consequences."

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said on Friday that Moscow had sent similar warnings regarding sending weapons to Ukraine to "all countries," presumably meaning all NATO members. The Czech Republic joined NATO in 1999.

Lipavský said the diplomatic letter sent by Russia was another method of trying to halt Czech support for Ukraine through false information. Military and other aid for Ukraine is unambiguously in the Czech Republic's strategic interest, he added.

"In early March, the Russian ambassador announced to a Czech deputy foreign minister that Russia was expecting terrorist attacks against convoys carrying Western weapons in Ukraine," Lipavský said.

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"We interpret this as a clear threat that Russia itself was and is preparing sabotage. The Russian side has further announced that it will be unable to prevent this sabotage, which we understand as another in a series of threats sent by Russia."

"Russia was passing similar messages to our allies from the EU and NATO," Lipavský added, noting that since the start of the war, Russia has been trying to deter EU and NATO countries from providing aid to Ukraine.

Over the past seven weeks, the Czech Republic has provided Ukraine with weapons, tanks, armored vehicles, and other military aid.

As of April 6, the total value of military aid donated to Ukraine was estimated to be worth 1.1 billion crowns. The Czech Defence Ministry has not specified the exact type or amount of material for security reasons.

Last week, Reuters reported that the Czech Republic sent Soviet-licensed T-72 tanks and Czechoslovak-made BMP-1 armored vehicles to Ukraine. According to local server Echo24, the country has also supplied Ukraine with Czechoslovak RM70 multiple rocket launchers.

The BMP-1 vehicles were previously owned by Germany. A clause in the contract transferring their ownership to the Czech Republic required German permission if sending them to another country, which was granted.

According to Lipavský, however, no such agreement exists between the Czech Republic and Russia for weapons produced by or licensed from the former Soviet Union.

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