North Macedonia has donated tanks and other military equipment to Ukraine, since the latter has been facing Russian aggression.
However, it has not yet been confirmed by government sources that North Macedonia has sent Ukraine four Su-25 aircraft and Mi-24 combat helicopters.
The Macedonian Minister of Defense, Slavjanka Petrovska, said on Monday that the Government has approved three decisions for military aid to Ukraine, but the decisions are classified, so they cannot be published.
It was declared only for the tanks, which were seen being transported to Ukraine.
The Macedonian authorities bought these tanks precisely in Ukraine in 2001, during the armed conflict with the National Liberation Army (NLA).
Over time, some of these devices have not been used due to the need for servicing.
"Until now, we have approved three decisions on military donations, and at the moment these decisions are classified for security reasons.
What it looked like was a tank transport.
Now we will not announce the quantity or how many tanks it is about, but it is clear that the tanks are part of the donations.
They are no longer part of our army, they are not needed.
And I must say that all decisions were made in consultation with the general staff of the army, as it is responsible for the security of the state.
With this, we reject all speculations that with these donations we have weakened the combat readiness of our army", declared Minister Petrovska.
Ukrainian officials have, on several occasions, thanked North Macedonia for donations.
Mykhailo Podolyak, adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in a Ukrainian-language social media post, thanked Skopje for the donated tanks and aircraft, without specifying whether they were planes or helicopters.
The Macedonian Government's decision has been criticized by Moscow as a "big mistake" in support of the "criminal activities of the regime in Kiev".
But the Minister of Defense of North Macedonia, Slavjanka Petrovska, said that it is about "independent decisions of a sovereign state, in aid of another occupied sovereign state".
"These are decisions of a sovereign and independent state.
Regardless of the fact that we are a member of NATO, and part of the collective defense system, the Government has assessed that when another independent, sovereign and democratic state is attacked, as is the case with Ukraine, it should be helped starting from principles of independence.
Motivated by these principles, we also made the decision to help this country with military equipment.
"Ukraine is the state that was attacked and is defending itself from aggression," Petrovska declared.
Since the first days of the Russian aggression, North Macedonia has supported the Government in Kiev, respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, while supporting all decisions on sanctions against Russia.
Meanwhile, Russia has placed North Macedonia in the "group of unfriendly states".
Macedonian officials have on several occasions accused Moscow of interfering in internal affairs and of espionage activities, so in the last two years it has expelled 11 Russian diplomats.
Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine on February 24.
He calls the war a "special military operation" to demilitarize Ukraine.
The West has responded to Russia, hitting the economy of this country with harsh sanctions./REL/