The German Ministry of Defense has approved the transfer of 58 East German-built BMP-1 Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFV) which are currently held by a private company in the Czech Republic.
The 58 BMP-1 IFVs, which were originally from the stocks of the National People’s Army of the East German Republic, were sold to Sweden in the early 1990s where they were modified and upgraded and given the designation PbV-501. They were then sold on to a Czech company that now wishes to transfer them to the Ukrainian Army.
Speaking to the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag a spokesman for the Ministry of Defense said: “These are 58 armored personnel carriers… (known as the BMP-1 in GDR times) are equipped with cannon and machine guns and was standard equipment for the Warsaw Pact armies. The armored personnel carriers came into the possession of the German armed forces after reunification and were initially handed over to the Swedish army at the end of the 1990s. It later sold it to a Czech company, which is now trying to sell it to the Ukrainian army. However, a German permit was required for this. This has now taken place.”
Welt am Sonntag also said that this approval was previously rejected by the federal government. According to information from Welt am Sonntag, the Czech company had already wanted to sell the same armored personnel carriers to the Ukrainian army in 2019. In 2019, however, this was still rejected.
“At that time, the government under Angela Merkel had decided not to deliver any weapons to Ukraine in order not to endanger the dialogue with Russia. This no longer applies since the “turning point” proclaimed by Olaf Scholz. However, the federal government has so far continued to refuse the delivery of artillery and tanks,” the newspaper said.
It is understood that the delivery of the IFVs to Ukraine will not take place immediately because the vehicles still have to be repaired beforehand. This may take a few weeks.