North Macedonia has rejected Ukraine’s request for military aid on the grounds that the country’s army needs the requested equipment as a donation, reports The Geopost.
“According to the position of the General Staff, unfortunately we cannot give a positive answer this time, because it is about equipment that is part of our formation, namely the needs of the Macedonian army,” Macedonian Defense Minister Slavjanka Petrovska said.
However, the minister added that she is ready to offer new training of Ukrainian soldiers on the territory of North Macedonia.
“At the moment, the Republic of North Macedonia, the army and the ministry remain open as to whether there will be a need for additional training of its members in the future.” But at this stage we have no announcement, that is, we have no concrete request about how many members of the Ukrainian army and what kind of training will be conducted,” Petrovska said.
According to her, the defense budget for 2024 amounts to a historic 2.05% of GDP, of which a third is allocated for the modernization and management process.
She added that this would allow for the purchase of JLTV armored vehicles, Stryker armored vehicles, Mistral-3 air defense systems and Boran artillery, which Ukraine had requested as a donation. According to Petrovska, the purchase of 42 American-made Stryker armored vehicles has been agreed, with deliveries scheduled to begin in December 2024.
“According to the contract, they must be delivered in six parts. This means that they will not only be handed over, but also that the personnel who will manage them will be properly trained and educated,” said Petrovska.
She also stressed that there are continuous efforts by foreign intelligence services to obtain information and data on the Macedonian army and defense personnel.
“For all those who are members of the Macedonian army and the Ministry of Defense, including the holders of political positions in this ministry, it is logical that they are the subject of interest of foreign services that want to know more than is communicated to the public.” But they also want to have some influence that will allow them to achieve their goals,” Petrovska said.
She did not name any specific cases, but said that the Military Security and Defense Service has data on which foreign services are interested and whether they want to disrupt the work of domestic defense.