Germany Clears Transfer of BMP-1 Infantry Fighting Vehicles to Ukraine

Germany’s Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht has approved another delivery of weapons to the Ukrainian army. The transfer is not from German stocks but is from a private vendor in the Czech Republic for a quantity of East German-built BMP-1s.

The approval was reported by Welt Am Sonntag. The 58 infantry fighting vehicles were originally from the stocks of the National People’s Army of the East German Republic. Over 350 of the BMP-1s were sold to Sweden in the early 1990s, following the collapse of the USSR and the reunification of Germany. Sweden designated the infantry fighting vehicles the PbV-501, following testing and some slight modifications.

The infantry fighting vehicles were eventually sold out of service in the late 2000s. A considerable number were bought by a private company in the Czech Republic and a deal to sell a batch to Ukraine had been agreed in 2019 but the deal was blocked by the German government.

A BMP-1 in service with the Swedish Army (via sphf.se)

Weapons made in Germany, even those manufactured in the former East German communist republic required approval before transfer. This is in line with Germany’s arms-transfer policy which restricts the transfer of arms to regions experiencing unrest or conflict. Previously, Estonia had been blocked from transferring East German-built D-30 howitzers it had previously acquired via Finland.

It is reported that the 58 vehicles will not be delivered immediately as they need to be refurbished ready for transfer. The news of the transfer comes as President Zelensky made a request for Australian Bushmaster armored vehicles in an address to the Australian Parliament yesterday. Attrition of Ukraine‚Äôs armored vehicles has become a concern with the second International Defence Donor Conference for Ukraine, hosted in London yesterday, highlighting Ukraine’s need for armored vehicles, anti-air weapon systems, long range artillery systems and ammunition and weapons for coastal defense.