Ukraine will be able to deliver the remaining 39 T-84 tanks to Thailand in March next year, Ukrainian ambassador to Thailand reassured and cited unrest in eastern Ukraine as a reason for the delay.
Ukraine ambassador to Thailand Andrii Beshta gave the assurance to Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwon during a meeting at the Defence Ministry on Wednesday, ministry spokesman Kongcheep Tantrawanit was quoted as saying by Bangkokpost.
The army announced the procurement of 49 T-84 Oplot tanks in 2011, but Ukraine has till date delivered only 10. The value of the deal was not known but some reports put it at $240 million.
The ambassador told Gen Prawit that internal political turmoil had affected Ukraine’s defence industry and caused delays in weapons shipments to customer countries, including Thailand. "Now that the situation has improved and Kiev’s arms industry can now proceed, the country will be able to deliver the backlog of Oplot battle tanks to the Royal Thai Army in time," Maj Gen Kongcheep quoted Beshta as saying.
Clashes between government forces and pro-Russian rebels in the former Soviet republic's war-torn east has killed more than 9,000 since April 2014. The fighting, however, has eased since a fragile truce was reached last September.
Ukraine is willing to expand partnership in the national defence industry with Thailand, including military technology transfer and a possible joint venture with Bangkok to build a plant to manufacture and repair armoured vehicles.
Beshta supported the government's roadmap to democracy and invited Gen Prawit to pay an official visit to Ukraine to strengthen ties between the defence ministries of the two countries, Maj Gen Kongcheep said.