Ukraine reportedly received a new batch of BMP-1 fighting vehicles from Greece this week, with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanking Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou for the latest round of military aid granted by the country.
The two presidents met in Kyiv on November 3 and discussed defense cooperation measures as well as plans to strengthen the sanctions levied against Russia. The Ukrainian president also confirmed that the pair discussed options for rebuilding Ukraine once the war comes to an end.
“The community of Ukrainian Greeks traditionally lives in the south of our country, a large part of which was badly affected by the Russian strikes,” Zelenskyy said in a nightly video address. “When we return the Ukrainian flag to all the cities and villages of the country’s south, we will invite Greece to participate in restoring normal life there.”
The Greek president also confirmed that Greece does not recognize Russia’s annexation of four Ukrainian territories and insisted that her country has been on Ukraine’s side “since day one.”
“We support your determination to protect your territorial integrity and will support you as long as necessary,” she said.
What Did Greece Send?
The Ukrainian president thanked the Greek president for the arrival of the first batch of BMP-1 fighting vehicles, a Soviet-era amphibious tracked infantry fighting vehicle. Development of the vehicle began in 1960 and was first used in the Soviet Army in 1966, and has remained in service to this day. Several more modern versions of the tank are also in service.
The vehicle is used by both the Ukrainian and Russian military today, and is heavily used in the Ukraine conflict due to how widely available the model has become.
In October, German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht also announced that Greece and Slovakia had agreed to send 100 armored vehicles to Ukraine.
“We live in critical times, and in such times, it is important to know where we have gaps in the defense. Air defense is one such area where action is urgent”, Lambrecht told reporters in Lithuania.
Germany also sent Greece a batch of Marder infantry fighting vehicles in mid-October as part of a swap. As part of the deal, Germany provided the vehicles to Greece so that the country could provide 40 Soviet tanks to Ukraine.
Deals like these have remained commonplace throughout Europe, whereby countries send Soviet-era equipment that Ukrainian soldiers are more familiar with in return for more modern tanks, vehicles, and weapons.
Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.