It Is Not True That Russia Donated Fighter Jets to N. Macedonia in 2001
The only combat aircraft that the state-owned are the four Sukhoi SU-25s, but it is not true that the Macedonian army received them as a donation from Russia during the 2001 military conflict. The army bought these fighter planes from Ukraine and did not receive them as a donation. Russia has no connection with these four planes
A Facebook post claims that the fighter jets that N. Macedonia donated to Ukraine as an aid during Russia’s military aggression are, in fact, a donation to N. Macedonia from Russia. This is false information.
The post reads:
In 2001, Russia gave us four Sukhoi SU-25s to fight the UCHK.
Now we gave those planes to Ukraine to bomb Russia – the same planes that saved us.
Where is our honor?
We have become the laughing stock of the world, we pay back our friends with bombs…
Walking around the Russian world, I am ashamed to introduce myself that I am from Macedonia
You sold yourself, you destroyed yourself, you quarreled with everyone
The only combat aircraft that the state-owned are the four Sukhoi SU-25s, but it is not true that the Macedonian army received them as a donation from Russia during the 2001 military conflict. The army bought these fighter planes from Ukraine and did not receive them as a donation. Russia has no connection with these four planes.
In June 2001, at the height of the conflict, Macedonia bought four Sukhoi SU-25 fighter jets from Ukraine, three single-seaters and one two-seater. Aircraft are designed for close support of infantry. ARM aircraft flew several sorties in the 2001 conflict in support of ground operations by security forces.
In the spring of 2003, Macedonia declared that there was no longer a need for combat aircraft in the formation of the ARM, and in 2004, the aircraft were grounded and preserved. The following year, the Ministry of Defense formally deregistered the aircraft from the records of the equipment and armament of the ARM.
During the 2001 conflict, Ukraine, which was one of the main supporters of the Macedonian army, took over the training of Macedonian pilots in its academies, supported the air force and provided training assistance to the Macedonian police and special forces. Ukraine even offered assistance for servicing the Macedonian military equipment and delivered several helicopters, transport and combat, four SU-25 aircraft and other equipment for the ground army.
The former minister, MP and ambassador Marjan Gjorchev, who was the head of the Macedonian delegation that went to Ukraine in 2001 to negotiate the purchase of military equipment and weapons, testifies for Focus on how the cooperation between the two countries, worth about a billion euros, came about.
He explains that by issuing a bank guarantee from a highly solvent European bank, Macedonia acquired several state-of-the-art helicopters at the time (Mi-24, Mi-8 and Mi-16) and four combat aircraft (Su-25). At the same time they agreed to modernize the T-55 tanks, the “Grad” missile defence system was procured, the delivery of several types of light-infantry weapons and equipment was ensured, etc.
Part of the Macedonian media announced that after the donation of tanks to Ukraine, the four “SU-25” military aircraft that North Macedonia acquired during the conflict in 2001 were donated to Kyiv. We are talking about the planes that have been seized since 2004 and that N. Macedonia planned to sell in the meantime.
This information has not yet been officially confirmed by the Ministry of Defense, from where they informed that three decisions were made, the content of which is still secret.
The exact details of all three decisions, their content and explanation will be declassified and transparently published. The decisions made so far do not impair the combat readiness of our army, the Ministry of Defense states.
Therefore, we assess that the post that is the subject of this review is false and is part of a wider campaign based on disinformation regarding the Russian-Ukrainian situation.