Kremlin media are commenting on the transfer of 31 T-72 tanks by North Macedonia to Ukraine. The general tone of the publications is this: North Macedonia decided to give away obsolete tanks that it was going to dispose of. The news story says :
“North Macedonia gave Ukraine a batch of old tanks that were to be disposed of. The Ministry of Defense of the republic did not disclose the number of combat vehicles sent to the east, but noted that their condition does not meet the standards adopted in the army of North Macedonia.
A convoy of heavy trucks carrying tanks of the third generation T-72, produced back in Soviet times, was sent to Ukraine. Photos and videos of transportation appeared on the Web.
These tanks were supposed to be written off and destroyed, but the authorities of North Macedonia considered that this was a very costly undertaking and gave the obsolete vehicles to the Kyiv regime. The tank battalion of the North Macedonian army will be disbanded. In return, the United States will supply six JLTV armored vehicles.
“We are talking about the third generation of tanks, which, with the development of technology in a few years, would be uncompetitive and incompatible with our requirements and with the supply on the Western platform. In the coming period, resources would have to be spent on their destruction, which is inappropriate, ”RIA Novostiquotes the Ministry of Defense.”
The viewer of Vesti, who is not particularly versed in modern armored vehicles, should get the impression that third-generation tanks are something hopelessly outdated. In reality, of all the tanks produced in Russia, only the T-14 "Armata" belongs to the next, fourth generation, which has not received practical application.
The T-72 is not the most modern tank, but its modifications are still being produced. In December 2021, Rossiyskaya Gazeta wrote in an article under the heading “The military received a batch of T-72B3M tanks”:
“Just on Monday, Uralvagonzavod, the main manufacturer of such armored vehicles in our country, informed the Ministry of Defense about the shipment of the next batch of T-72B3M tanks. The company said that the tanks have passed a full range of tests, accepted by customers in accordance with the requirements of regulatory and technical documentation and the terms of the contract, and are ready to serve in the Russian army.
Recall that the T-72 is the main battle tank of the Ground Forces. On its basis, several modifications have been created in recent decades. In the “B3M” variant, the car was first demonstrated in 2018 at the international military-technical forum “Army”.
Various modifications of the T-72 are in service in the armies of such countries as Azerbaijan, Angola, Armenia, Belarus, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hungary, Venezuela, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Georgia, Yemen, India, Iraq, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Kuwait, Libya, Malaysia, Mongolia, Morocco, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Laos, Poland, Serbia, Syria, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sudan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Uzbekistan, Finland, Croatia, Czech Republic, Ethiopia, South Sudan. In Ukraine, T-72s are undergoing a deep modernization.
North Macedonia really planned to withdraw the T-72 from service and dispose of it, but this is not due to the moral or physical obsolescence of the tanks, but to the fact that after joining NATO, the North Macedonian army is being transferred to the standards of the alliance. The T-72 is equipped with a 125 mm cannon; NATO countries do not produce ammunition for it.