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Ukraine conflict: North Macedonia donating T-72s to Ukraine and disbanding tank battalion

North Macedonia is donating its T-72 MBTs to Ukraine and disbanding its tank battalion. (Igor Bozinovski)

North Macedonia is donating its T-72 main battle tanks (MBTs) to Ukraine, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) confirmed to Janes on 29 July, the day after Macedonian television showed a column of eight trucks carrying tanks passing through Kriva Palanka on the motorway to Bulgaria.

The donated MBTs belong to the Army of the Republic of North Macedonia's (ARSM's) tank battalion, which the MoD said in a statement will be disbanded as the T-72s are “third generation tanks that technological developments will, in a few years, make uncompetitive and incompatible with North Macedonia's demands for the supply of a Western platform”.

“Based on analysis, recommendations, and plans adopted for equipping the Army of the Republic of North Macedonia in the coming period, the transformation or disbandment of the tank battalion will be carried out and modern anti-tank capabilities will begin to be established in the army, with the implementation of these plans already under way,” the MoD said, adding that no additional funds would be invested in modernising tanks, in line with Long Term Defence Capability Development Plan (LTDCP) 2019–2028.

“Given the facts as well as the request by the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine, the government decided to gift Ukraine a certain number of these required [armour] capabilities,” the MoD stated, adding that it would not be expedient to use resources to scrap the T-72s.

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