Skopje sends T-72 tanks to Ukraine that Russia originally sent to fight Albanian separatists

North Macedonia Skopje Soviet-designed T-72 tanks Ukraine

North Macedonia, NATO's newest member state, has decided to send several Soviet-designed main battle tanks to Ukraine's armed forces as the country prepares to modernise its armed forces.

The Balkan country intends to acquire new battle tanks to ensure interoperability with other member states of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the Ministry of Defence explained.

This allows several main battle tanks — their number was not specified — to be sent to Ukraine. Normally Skopje would decommission them, but Kiev needs them, according to the same source.

North Macedonia has 31 Soviet-designed T-72 tanks. Video uploaded to social networking sites by the Makfax news agency shows some of these tanks being transported by trucks near the border with Bulgaria.

These tanks were delivered to the authorities in Skopje by Russia in 2000 during the rebellion of the so-called Albanian National Liberation Army of Ali Ahmeti.

The 2001 insurgency in what was then the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia was an armed conflict which began when the ethnic Albanian NLA militant group, formed from veterans of the Kosovo War and Insurgency in the Preševo Valley, attacked the country's security forces.

Beginning of February 2001, the conflict ended with the Ohrid Agreement, signed on 13 August of that same year.

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