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​Greek BMP-1 Finally Go to Ukraine in Four Months: Germany Agreed to Provide Marder in Exchange

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BMP-1 of the Greek ground forces / Open source photo
BMP-1 of the Greek ground forces / Open source photo

Greece will strengthen the Armed Forces of Ukraine with a battalion set of BMP-1 infantry fighting vehicles, and will receive the same amount of Marder IFVs as compensation

The Armed Forces of Ukraine can soon expect the arrival of 40 BMP-1 vehicles, which Greece agreed to transfer to Ukraine in exchange for 40 German Marder IFVs. The Greek government officially announced the deal, adding that it was the result of negotiations with the Federal Government.

This is one of examples of the so-called "Ringtausch" (ring exchange), when the country receives Western equipment from allies for the transfer of Soviet equipment to Ukraine. The only problem with this agreement is that negotiations between Greece and Germany regarding the supply of BMP-1 began back in early May 2022.

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The BMP-1 is far from being the main combat vehicle of the Greek Army, so it doesn't get to appear on camera often / Open source photo

Most likely, the reason for negotiations on BMP-1 being so long was the ratio: how many BMP-1s should be transferred for one Marder. It is likely that Berlin was not satisfied with the 1:1 ratio at all. But the "ring exchange" of a mechanized battalion worth of vehicles will occur according to this formula nevertheless.

Let’s also recall that, according to Military Balance, Greece had 167 units of BMP-1 as of 2021. But some of them were converted to carry a ZU-23-2 anti-aircraft gun: the standard turret was dismantled and crew placement was set outside the armored space.

Some BMP-1 in Greece use ZU-23-2 autocannon as primary weapon, so they were rebuilt to carry them / Open source photo

Also, we cannot ignore a certain inertia in this negotiation process. It takes four month to agree on the transfer of 40 Soviet-era vehicles, whereas the issue of supplying Ukraine with modern Western IFVs is becoming more and more urgent every day and is already being raised at the official level. Although, unfortunately, the latter seems impossible in the near future.

Be that as it may, the supply of the BMP-1 battalion kit for Ukraine is extremely important for maintaining the combat capability of the Ukrainian units.

As a reminder, in early summer, Slovenia also sent 35 M-80A infantry fighting vehicles – the Yugoslav version of the BMP-2 – via the "ring exchange". Because of the peculiar 20-mm automatic cannon, it actually took another two months for these machines to become operationally ready in the ranks of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

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