Russian military expert Morocco refused to allow the transfer of its tanks to Ukraine
Russian military expert Morocco refused to allow the transfer of its tanks to Ukraine

Moscow: A renowned military expert from Russia has charged the Czech Republic with state racketeering.

By sending Moroccan tanks to Ukraine, Konstantin Sivkov, a captain of the first rank and vice president of the Russian Academy of Rocket and Artillery Sciences, claimed Prague had broken international law.

He claimed that Rabat had not authorised the transfer of its tanks to Kyiv for use in the conflict with Russia. The Czech Republic, where they had been sent for maintenance and modernization, instead transferred them.

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Sivkov referred to the Czech decision to send the tanks to Ukraine as "a blatant act of state racketeering, if not an act of state terrorism." Morocco had purchased the tanks from Belarus.

"These tanks were transferred to a third party without the consent of Morocco, which paid for their repair and modernization," he said in an interview with Arab News.In essence, Belarus, the seller of these tanks, did not approve their reexport to Ukraine because Belarus would never agree to transfer military hardware to a belligerent state.

In 1999 and 2000, Morocco purchased 148 T-72B tanks. Less than half of the 130 modernization projects it sent to a Czech company in the last two years have been returned, and at least 20 of the 74 that are still in the Czech Republic have reportedly been turned over to Ukraine by Czech authorities in violation of contractual obligations.

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According to Maria Zakharova, the director of the Information and Press Department of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, "We consider this egregious case as further evidence of the hostile anti-Russian course pursued by the Czech authorities, within the framework of which Prague does not hesitate to violate the basic norms of international law regulating the arms trade, and seize another's property."

The tragic experience of the Second World War, when Czech companies worked tirelessly to provide the Third Reich with weapons for its conflict with the Soviet Union, is being repeated.

The Czech Republic has been used as a platform for the repair and modernization of equipment sent to Ukraine, according to Zakharova, who also suggested that these actions demonstrate Kiev's Western allies' primary objective is to prolong the conflict for as long as possible in order to harm Russia as much as possible.

In 2021, Morocco and the Czech company Excalibur Army signed agreements for the repair and modernization of 130 T-72B tanks made by the Soviet Union. Only 56 have been returned, and Czech authorities are allegedly keeping the rest for themselves.

According to MENA Defence, the Czech Republic sent at least 20 of the tanks to Ukraine as military aid in January of this year. According to the report, Morocco made the decision on April 26, 2022, while under pressure from Western nations during a NATO summit held at America's Ramstein Air Base in Germany.

However, some African-related news outlets on the Telegram messenger app claimed that, contrary to the terms of the agreement between the two countries, Czech authorities, not Moroccan ones, had transferred tanks to Ukraine.

Later, after Czech Prime Minister Peter Fiala's visit on January 9, MENA Defence published images of disassembled and upgraded T-72Bs at the Excalibur Army plant in the town of Sternberk year. He is seen in one of the images autographing a gun on a tank bearing the flags of the Czech Republic and Ukraine.

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The transfer of these tanks confirms that Kiev's Western patrons have already used up their ability to supply the Ukrainian army with cutting-edge weapons, according to Sivkov. "This egregious fact shows once again that Western countries cannot be trusted in any case," said Sivkov.

"As for the T-72B tanks, they are combat vehicles from the middle of the 1980s, from the previous century, and they will not provide Ukraine with a tactical advantage.

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