Thailand To Purchase 96 Armoured Vehicles From Ukraine

BANGKOK, Thailand -- Thailand has decided to order 96 armoured personnel carriers at the cost of 4 billion baht (118.7 million dollars) from the Ukraine, Thai media reports said Monday.

BTR-3U armoured personnel carrier

Thai army commander-in-chief General Sonthi Boonyaratkalin confirmed the choice over the weekend, reported the Bangkok Post newspaper.

Thailand opted for the Ukraine's BTR-3EI model over eight other bids because it was within the army budget and spare parts were available, Sonthi said.

Defence Minister Boonrawd Somtas last week said the army favoured the Ukrainian APCs over rival bids from Canada, China and Russia, primarily because of cost factors.

'It's like buying Japanese cars over European cars,' said Boonrawd. The purchase will be government-to-government.

Most of the APCs will be sent to Thailand's majority Muslim deep South, where a separatist struggle has already claimed more than 2,200 lives since January 2004.

Source: Deutsche Presse-Agentur