Tuesday, April 07, 2020

Army clarifies on Ukraine tank purchase after MP raises questions in censure debate

Feb 28. 2020
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Army spokesman Colonel Winthai Suwaree said on Thursday (February 27) that the Army’s procurement of OPLOT tanks from Ukraine is a government-to-government (G2G) project under which government agencies of both parties have entered into the contract and are responsible as joint operators.

He was replying to a query from Uttaradit MP Saranwut Saranket of Pheu Thai Party, who, during the censure debate this week, questioned discrepancies in the tank’s procurement document in the Royal Thai Army’s documentation system.

“The contract’s MoU [memorandum of understanding] was made and signed by government agencies of both countries,” said Winthai. “On Thailand’s side, apart from Royal Thai Army we also have Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Office of the Attorney-General sign the MoU as witnesses.”

Winthai further explained that as per the MoU, the tanks are brand new products and must be paid for directly to the Ukrainian government. “We did not pay for them via brokers or middlemen which might have caused the discrepancy in the contract as claimed by the opposition MP,” he said.

Responding to a video clip that Saranwut showed of a tank emitting black smoke when revving up the engine, hinting that the engine had been used for some time and was not brand new. “The tank in the video is not the same as the ones that the Army has purchased,” he clarified.

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