Morocco has sent tanks to Ukraine to enhance its counter-offensive against Russian forces.
Twenty modernized T-72B main battle tanks have been supplied to Ukraine, making Rabat the first African nation to send support to the war-torn country.
Czech defense firm Excalibur Army modernized the tanks before they were sent to Ukraine.
On November 4, 2022, the Pentagon said the U.S., in a trilateral agreement with the Netherlands and the Czech Republic, would pay for Prague to upgrade 45 Soviet-era T-72 tanks for use in Ukraine.
The T-72Bs tanks were paid for by the United States and the Netherlands under an agreement totaling 2.2 billion rubles. CZK (slightly more than 90 million euros).
Morocco which does not appreciate Russia’s continued support for regional rival Algeria, have chosen to send arms to Kiev in order to anger Moscow.
Morocco’s decision to deliver arms to Ukraine was taken during the Ramstein summit on April 26, 2022. At this summit, Tunisia and Morocco were the only two countries to represent North Africa.
The Center for European Policy Analysis said on December 21 that the delivery of Moroccan military aid to Ukraine marked “a significant setback for Russia’s attempts to foster African neutrality.”
The first spotting of the Moroccan T-72B tanks being refurbished for the Ukrainian Army took place during a visit by Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala to the company’s Sternberk site.
The new Czech T-72 upgrade is fitted with an ERA (Explosive Reactive Armor) kit mounted at the front and on the sides of the hull as well as the front and the roof of the turret.
Morocco currently operates around 40-60 T-72Bs, and T-72BKs acquired from Belarus in 1999 and 2000.
Around 20 years ago, Morocco purchased from Belarus a batch of 136 T-72B battle tanks, including 12 commander T-72BKS and spare parts for them. Since 2015, Ukraine has been asking Morocco to purchase these main battle tanks to augment it’s plethora of Soviet-made tanks.
Around last week, British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said that providing Ukraine with high-performance tanks to fight Russia is a “moral imperative.”
James Cleverly stated that it also sends a message that Western countries have the strategic endurance to continue supporting Ukraine “until the job is done.”
However, despite several countries sending armored vehicles to Kyiv, Germany is still withholding it’s Leopard 2 main battle tanks.
Germany is reluctant to give consent to Poland and other countries to give their Leopard 2 tanks to Kyiv until the U.S. sends its Abrams first.
A decision on whether or not Berlin would finally assist Ukraine with the Leopard 2 tanks was supposed to be released last week, but German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said his country needs more time.
“There are good reasons for the delivery and there are good reasons against it. And given the overall situation of a war that has been going on for almost one year now, all the pros and cons have to be weighed very carefully, and that assessment is explicitly shared by many allies,” Pistorius told reporters.