Jaroslav Naď, Minister of Defence of the Slovak Republic, announced on Twitter that his country has donated 30 BMP-1 infantry fighting vehicles to Ukraine. This is a highly valuable asset to the Armed Forces of Ukraine as the country is currently defending against the ongoing Russian invasion. But what can these machines do?
Jaroslav Naďs announcement wasn’t a surprise because of two reasons. First of all, Slovakia has supported Ukraine’s war efforts since the beginning of the invasion and even before that. Slovakia, which used to be a part of Czechoslovakia and, therefore, the Eastern Bloc, has some Soviet-made or at least Soviet-designed weapons, which Ukraine is highly familiar with. This means that no training is required and the defenders of Ukraine can start using these weapons almost immediately.
However, it needs to be noted that Slovakia is not just getting rid of its old weaponry. It also donated Zuzana-2 self-propelled 155 mm howitzers and some other modern weapons.
Secondly, this was part of an agreement with Germany, as was noted in Jaroslav Naďs Tweet. Germany will support Slovakia with NATO-grade weapons, including Leopard 2A4 tanks. This frees up some machinery, which can then be donated to Ukraine.
Glad to confirm that 30 #Slovak #BMP1 infantry fighting vehicles were donated to #Ukraine based on #ringtausch agreement with #Germany. Thanks Christine #Lambrecht for excellent coop.🇸🇰🤝🇩🇪 #SlavaUkraini @UKRinSR @SlovakiaMFA @oleksiireznikov @DefenceU @Slovakia_NATO 💛💙🇺🇦 pic.twitter.com/s0PCwvtUmJ
— Jaro Nad (@JaroNad) November 29, 2022
And so 30 BMP-1s will defend Ukraine and, hopefully, contribute to the liberation of territories currently occupied by the Russian forces.
The BMP-1 entered service in 1966. Around 20 thousand of them were made in the Soviet Union, but around 18 thousand were made in Czechoslovakia. Some were made in other countries, like China and India. In other words, BMP-1 is an extremely common infantry fighting vehicle.
The BMP-1 is a tracked amphibious vehicle, weighing around 13 tonnes. Its armor is not the thickest or most advanced, but at least BMP-1 can reach a maximum speed of 65 km/h on-road or 7-8 km/h in water. It is usually armed with a 73 smoothbore automatic gun and can accommodate 8 passengers alongside the 3 crew members. The BMP-1 can perform various tasks, like aiding advancements and working alongside main battle tanks. It is an infantry fighting vehicle – it aids infantry in its missions.
OSINT group Oryx has calculated from publically available visual information that since February 24th Russia has lost at least 238 BMP-1 vehicles (including the most advanced BMP-1AM version). A big portion of them was actually captured and is now being used by Ukraine.