Modernized T-72B3 with additional armor.
“Morocco…will deliver spare parts of T-72 tanks to Ukraine. The kingdom is increasingly taking a stand in the conflict between Kyiv and Moscow.”
New reporting has revealed that Morocco has agreed to send T-72 tanks and tank parts to Ukraine, breaking a stalemate of African states reluctant to take sides in the conflict. As the accompanying article in Le Journal de l’Afrique relays, Morocco agreed to send the tanks and spare parts to Ukraine at the request of the United States.[i] Ukraine had previously asked Morocco for spare parts for its T-72 [R1] tanks in July 2015.
Within a broader geopolitical context, Morocco’s move to support Ukraine with such heavy weapons signals a notable departure among African countries, which so far have largely declined to take a stand in the conflict. Western observers have been notably disappointed that African allies have not been more forceful in their condemnation of Russian moves in Ukraine. Such African neutrality has been most clearly evidenced in UN voting resolutions in March and August, with many African states abstaining from condemning Russian actions, and in other cases, voting against resolutions condemning Russia.[ii] For its part, Morocco abstained from the UN vote condemning Russian aggression in March. However, it remains wary of Russia’s assistance to its neighbor and rival, Algeria, with which it cut diplomatic ties in August 2021.[iii] In contrast, Morocco’s move signals the clearest sign of any African country supporting either side and will likely inform if and how other African countries might decide to take sides in the conflict.
Frédéric Ange Touré, “L’armement de l’Ukraine par les Américains passe par le Maroc (The arming of Urkaine by the Americans goes through Morocco,” Le Journal de l’Afrique (independent pan-African news outlet), 6 December 2022. https://lejournaldelafrique.com/larmement-de-lukraine-par-les-americains-passe-par-le-maroc/
Morocco, on the recommendation of the United States, will deliver spare parts of T-72 tanks to Ukraine. The kingdom is increasingly taking a stand in the conflict between Kyiv and Moscow.
Last April, the United States was looking for T-72 tanks to deliver to Ukrainian forces in the war between Kyiv and Moscow. These tanks have become a rare commodity in the West… The New York Times indicated, on April 1, that Washington was negotiating with its NATO allies to supply T-72s to Ukraine after the request made by President Volodymyr Zelinski, who sought in particular to solidify his defense in the Donbass. A few days later, we learned that Poland was in the process of delivering 200 T-72 tanks to Kyiv…
The Royal Moroccan Armed Forces have several dozen T-72B/BK type tanks, acquired between 1999 and 2001 from Belarus. In July 2015, the Ukrainian public company Ukroboronservice asked Morocco for spare parts for its T-72 tanks. Kyiv is therefore used to working with Rabat on this subject…
After a statement to recall that Morocco advocates “respect for the territorial integrity, sovereignty and national unity of all United Nations member states”, the kingdom took part in a meeting with 40 allies of the United States, all NATO members and several invited countries, in Germany to discuss increasing military aid to Zelensky’s government.
An alignment with the American position, therefore, the culmination of which is this agreement on the delivery of spare parts for T-72 tanks to Ukraine.
[i] Between 1999 and 2001, the Royal Moroccan Army acquired dozens of T-72/BK type tanks from Belarus. Developed in 1972, these Soviet-era tanks have been sold and used throughout the world, especially by former Warsaw Pact countries.
[ii] For more on African stances of the Russia-Ukraine war, see: Jason Warner, “African Stances on the Russia-Ukraine War Demonstrate Reliance on, Antipathy Toward West,” OE Watch 9, 2022. https://community.apan.org/wg/tradoc-g2/fmso/m/oe-watch-articles-2-singular-format/425767 See also: “GCKN Running Estimate: Russian Global Influence Efforts,” December 2022, Update 9. https://community.apan.org/wg/gckn/m/russiaproduct/429266
[iii] For more on Algerian-Morocco relations, see: Lucas Winter, “Algeria Media Dismissive of Morocco-Israel Security Cooperation, OE Watch #9, 2022. https://community.apan.org/wg/tradoc-g2/fmso/m/oe-watch-articles-2-singular-format/425770
Image: Modernized T-72B3[R1] with additional armor
Attribution: Creative Commons 4.0