Pakistan may have been part of an air route used by the West recently to supply arms to Ukraine in its war against Russia, ET has learned. The Nur Khan air base in Rawalpindi was part of the air bridge used by the West for military aircraft flights to Avram Iancu Cluj International Airport in Romania via a British air base in the Mediterranean, according to people familiar with the matter. This comes against the backdrop of Pakistani Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa’s recent visit to the UK as part of his recent official trips abroad amid the country’s deepening economic crisis. .

The airlift bypassed Iranian and Afghan airspace and would have used West Asian airspace to transfer weapons between Aug. 6 and Aug. 15, they said, adding that a Globemaster aircraft had been used to transfer the weapons. A British Air Force C-17A Globemaster III (call sign: ZZ173) was reportedly used for daily sorties between the aforementioned period using the Pakistan Airlift. Sources said artillery ammunition for the Ukrainian army may have been transported.

The West has supported Ukraine with weapons since the war began in February. The UK’s official contribution in this regard includes M270 multiple launch rocket systems, light anti-tank weapons and Brimstone missiles.

The alleged development coincides with the Ukrainian foreign minister’s praise for Pakistan. At a press conference earlier this week, Ukrainian Dmytro Kuleba said the two sides had “great potential” in bilateral relations, adding: “We expect greater solidarity from Pakistan towards Ukraine.” .

In the past, Ukraine’s relations with Pakistan had cast a shadow over its ties with India. It is no secret that Kyiv is a major arms supplier to Pakistan. Pakistan Ordnance Factory had once stated that it produced small arms ammunition for standard weapons used by the Ukrainian army.

Military ties

Pakistan also has over 320 Ukrainian T-80UD tanks in service with a fully formed ecosystem for their maintenance, use, ammunition and spare parts. A few months ago, the Ukrainian billionaire of Pakistani origin Mohammad Zahoor allegedly bought two fighter jets to help the battle of Kyiv against Russia.

ET reported in May that Zahoor allegedly purchased the two Soviet-sourced jets, apparently from an Eastern European country, with the help of its business partners. Several Eastern European states received jets from the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

Last year, Pakistan and Ukraine agreed to optimize their military relations, especially in the areas of defense production, training, counter-terrorism activities and intelligence. Pakistan would be keen to enhance defense cooperation with Ukraine on the basis of technology transfer and joint ventures in the future, as both sides can benefit from each other’s experience. Between 1991 and 2020, Ukraine concluded arms deals worth nearly $1.6 billion with Pakistan.

It should be recalled that Ukraine was one of the nations that opposed India’s nuclear tests in 1998 and condemned India’s actions at the UN after the test.

Ukraine also voted in favor of UN resolution 1172 which condemned India’s nuclear tests. Similarly, Ukraine did not support India on the Kashmir issue in the Security Council and supported the role of the United Nations in the territory.