Late last month, the Kremlin slammed the Czech Republic for seizing tanks bound for Morocco without its consent to send them to Ukraine, Russian state news agency Tass reported.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the move was an “egregious case of de facto expropriation” and further proof that the Czech government is pursuing a “hostile anti-Russian course.”
Earlier this year, multiple news outlets reported that Morocco became the first African nation to supply tanks to Ukraine.
However, Moscow contends that the Moroccan government was not given a choice in the matter.
Morocco had reached a deal with Excalibur Army Spol, a Czech defense contractor to upgrade 130 T-72B tanks that were purchased from 1999 to 2001 in Belarus. However, only 56 of the tanks had been returned to Morocco while the remaining 74 were “expropriated” by the Czech government to send to Ukraine, Zakharova said.
Zakharova blasted the Czech Republic government, saying its leaders have turned the country into a primary site for the “production, repair, and modernization of military equipment” being sent to Ukraine.
Zakharova also accused the West of seeking to ensure that the war in Ukraine drags on to cause maximum damage to Russia.
Ukraine’s Western allies have been boosting supplies to the country in anticipation of the coming spring counteroffensive.
On Thursday, CNN reported that the British supplied multiple long-range Storm Shadow stealth cruise missiles. The missiles, developed by France and the UK, are typically launched from the air. The Storm Shadow has a firing range of over 155 miles, just short of the 185-mile range of the US-made ATACMS (Army Tactical Missile System) that Ukraine had requested.
The range of a Storm Shadow cruise missile would allow Ukraine to strike deep within the Russian-held territory in the east.
A senior Pentagon official told CNN that the delivery of Storm Shadow missiles will be a “game changer.”