Pakistan to supply 44 T-80UD main battle tanks to Ukraine

| Updated: 19 March, 2023 4:19 pm IST

Pakistan plans to transfer 44 T-80UD main battle tanks to Ukraine in exchange for financial assistance from Western countries, suggest some Russian and Pakistan media reports. Pakistan Army purchased 350 T-80UD main battle tanks in the late 1980s, and is considering returning at least 44 Made in Ukraine tanks to the seller country.

As Pakistan is struggling to keep its economy together, the Pakistani Military Controlled Complex is rushing to mint money by supplying cheap ammunition via western countries – Germany, Poland and the United Kingdom.

Pakistan recently delivered Anza MkII MANPADS to Ukraine via Poland, and it previously delivered artillery shells to Ukraine via the United Kingdom. The Pakistani militia complex has also received orders for RPGs and ammunition.

Interestingly, Pakistan has kept its military support to Ukraine clandestine lest it affects its relationship with Russia. Pakistan is currently dependent on Russian wheat as export channels from Ukraine are blocked.

In an interview in late February this year Dr. Riina Kionka, European Union’s ambassador to Pakistan admitted to receiving military and humanitarian aid from Pakistan but Pakistan has formally denied all reports of arms supply to Ukraine.

Ukraine and Pakistan have close military-industrial ties. In the period from 1991 to 2020, Ukraine signed arms supply contracts with Pakistan totaling almost $1.6 billion. In addition, last year, Pakistan and Ukraine agreed to optimise military ties, in particular in the field of defence production, personnel training, counter-terrorism activities and intelligence.

Last week, the economic crisis-hit Islamic country shipped 38 containers of arms and ammunition destined for Kyiv through a vessel named MV Ocean Grand allegedly under the US flag.

According to independent conflict analysts, Islamabad has signed deals with the United Kingdom and Poland for exporting wartime machinery to Kyiv by routing it through ports in northern Europe.

Pakistan government’s ordnance factories sent 99 containers of ammunition from Karachi port to Kyiv through an unknown third country last week in a bid to strengthen its defence relationship with Ukraine.

Islamabad ships containers carrying arms and ammunition to Ukraine through Eastern Europe, primarily Poland, and Germany. Analysts believe that Pakistani shipping and brokerage firm Project Shipping is the main player in this West-supported initiative.

In February this year, Pakistani sent an ammunition consignment of 162 containers to Ukraine from Karachi through Germany after it signed an agreement with the UK’s ministry of defence.

In addition, Pakistan is also helping Western countries deliver critical arms and ammunition to the Zelensky regime. In December last year, the UK allegedly used the Pakistani air force based in Rawalpindi as the air bridge to transfer Ukraine-destined arms from a British air base in the Mediterranean to Avram Iancu Cluj International Airport în România.

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