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DefenseNorthern Macedonia was the first to donate combat aircraft to Ukraine, claims...

Northern Macedonia was the first to donate combat aircraft to Ukraine, claims a publication in Skopje

The four SU-25 military aircraft that RNMacedonia bought from Ukraine during the conflict with radical Albanians in 2001 for 4 million euros have been donated to Ukraine these days. On 5th of August the Ministry of Defense neither denied nor confirmed this information. It is about the planes that Macedonia planned to sell back in 2004, MKD.mk reported.

If the deal is officially confirmed, it would make Northern Macedonia the first country to donate military aircraft to Ukraine. Other countries, including Poland and Slovakia, considered how to donate their MiG-29s and other aircraft, but in return quickly and cheaply receive American aircraft.

The reaction of the Ministry of Defense in Skopje when asked about the fate of the Sukhoi aircraft after T-72 tanks were donated was: “The exact details of all three decisions, their content and explanation will be declassified and transparently published. The ones taken so far decisions do not worsen the combat readiness of our army”.

During the Macedonian conflict in June 2001, RNMacedonia purchased four Sukhoi SU-25 combat aircraft, three single-seat and one two-seat, from Ukraine. The planes are intended for direct support of the infantry, and during the conflict they had several combat missions in support of the ground actions of the Macedonian security forces, the publication recalls.

In June, the Left Party announced that it had learned from informants, officers and army personnel that the Sukhoi jets were being inspected and repaired by Ukrainian military engineers.

In the spring of 2003, the Ministry of Defense of Macedonia announced that there was no longer a need for combat aircraft in the formation of the armed forces, and in 2004 the aircraft were preserved and prepared for sale.

In 2011, the Ministry of Defense began to think about modernizing them according to NATO standards, but this idea did not materialize.

North Macedonia has already decided to donate tanks to Ukraine

North Macedonia plans to donate an unspecified number of tanks to Ukraine as it seeks to modernize its own army to meet NATO standards, the Ministry of Defense announced on 29 July this year.

In a statement, the ministry in Skopje said Ukraine would receive tanks belonging to the country’s tank battalion, which is undergoing modernization.

“Taking into account this situation and the requirements of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense, the government has decided that a certain amount of these (tank) capacities will be donated to Ukraine in accordance with its needs,” the statement said.

The ministry did not specify the number of tanks, but said they belonged to the so-called third-generation main battle tanks of the 1970s and 1980s, which have composite armor and computerized stabilization and fire control systems.

A reference to open access sources shows that the country has 31 T-72 tanks.

Northern Macedonia, a former Yugoslav republic, is a member of NATO and a candidate for joining the European Union. Like other Western countries, it has already donated military equipment to Ukraine after the Russian invasion in February, Reuters recalls.

Photo: T-72 tank from the army of the Republic of N. Macedonia on parade in 2012. © Creative Commons by Joy of Museums

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