Ukraine APCs Coming Soon To Thailand

BANGKOK, Thailand -- Ukraine will deliver the first batch of 96 armoured personnel carriers to Thailand next month, more than two years after the original purchase agreement was signed, says Ukraine Charge d'Affaires Andriy Beshta.

Mr Beshta met Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya on Thursday to assure him that the APCs would be delivered starting next month.

"The first lot of the vehicles will be sent out [by the end of] September," Mr Beshta said.

Only two APCs would be delivered next month, with the rest to follow after March of next year, he said.

The APCs will use MTU engines from the United States instead of German engines.

The switch from German to US made engines was one of the reasons given for the delay of delivery of the APCs.

The 4 billion baht ($127 million) deal for Thailand to buy 96 APCs from Ukraine was signed between the two governments back in July 2008.

In a statement released by Ukraine following Thursday's meeting, the country's government said it intended to send the 96 BTR 3E1 APCs to Thailand within a year.

Earlier this year, the opposition-dominated House committee on military affairs questioned whether the APCs destined for Thailand were modified from outdated models.

Ukraine denied the allegation in the statement. "[The accusation] that the Ukraine government had modified the old BTR 70 and BTR 80 armoured cars from the Russian era and sold them to the Thai government [is groundless]."

Mr Beshta said the APCs destined for Thailand are common in many regions such as the Middle East, Asia and Africa.

"We hope this situation will not affect the bilateral relationship and military cooperation between Thailand and Ukraine in the future," the statement said.

Source: Bangkok Post