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Slovenia donates 35 armoured combat vehicles to Ukraine

On Tuesday, Ukraine was handed a shipment of 35 Yugoslav-era infantry combat vehicles by Slovenia.

The small Balkan country had in its possession 52 Yugoslav-manufactured M-80 armoured vehicles. In return for the 35 which it donated to Ukraine, Slovenia will receive credit for equipment much needed by the Slovenian Armed Forces, from the US. The M-80s date back to the 1970s and 1980s, and the Slovenian Armed Forces have been steadily updating their equipment since joining NATO in 2004.

M-80 was designed in Yugoslavia in collaboration with French engineers, and hence it is often compared to AMX-10P. It has also been reported to be a good match for Soviet-manufactured BMP-1 and BMP-2, still in use by the armed forces of both Russia and Ukraine. M-80 is armed with 20 mm automatic cannons and Malyutka anti-tank missile launchers.

The original plan had been to sell the vehicles following their decommissioning, yet the previous government decided to donate them to Ukraine instead. The new government formed after elections held in late May has upheld the decision, even though it announced shifting the focus of its Ukraine aid efforts onto humanitarian aid and post-war reconstruction, as now the Slovenian Armed Forces have no more weapons left to donate. Marjan Ĺ arec, the Minister of Defence of the new cabinet, said last week that in the future Slovenia could offer demining assistance and also training for Ukrainian troops.

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