Slovenian armored vehicles bolster Ukraine's front line defenses as secrecy shrouds military aid
Valuk is an armored transport vehicle, built under the license from the Austrian Pandur vehicles to serve the needs of the Slovenian army. Twenty of these vehicles reached Ukraine last year, but the handover was cloaked in secrecy. The public was only informed when all the prepared armored transporters were already operating under the Ukrainian soldiers. Over the past few months, there has been no released material to confirm the involvement of the Slovenian armored transporters in the current war. Yet, the recent video indicates they are still deployed to deter the invaders.
Weighing approximately 12 metric tons, these Slovenian machines can achieve speeds of up to 100 km/h or 62 mph. They have a relatively vast range of up to 700 km or 435 miles, although this noticeably decreases in challenging terrain conditions. Valuk carriers can tackle vertical obstacles up to 0.5 m or 1.65 feet and cross bodies of water with a depth of up to 1.2 m or 3.94 feet.
Valuk in Ukraine
The standard armor offers comprehensive protection from 7.62 mm caliber bullets, and in the front zone, it also guards against 12.7 mm caliber bullets. The protective layer can be enhanced to offer higher level all-round protection. These transporters are equipped with an NBC (nuclear, biological, and chemical) protective system, an automatic fire detection and a quelling system in the cabin. Alongside all these features, the crew also benefits from protection against anti-tank mines.
Slovenian Support for Ukraine
The armored Valuk transporters are also prepared to launch assaults. They are endowed with a 12.7 mm machine gun or a 40 mm automatic grenade launcher by design.
Intriguingly, this isn't the only instance of aid from Slovenia that local authorities have chosen to keep under wraps. The transfer of Zastava anti-aircraft guns to Ukraine was similarly handled. The stream of military aid from this country to the front lines included M-55S tanks (28 units), M2A1 howitzers, HMMWV, and M–80A infantry combat vehicles (35 units).
The pool of military equipment that could be donated to an ally was quickly depleted, given the modest weapon resources in this small country. Currently, Ljubljana is chiefly involved in humanitarian and material aid.
"There was never any doubt in Slovenia that Ukraine is the victim and Russia is the aggressor. We will continue to help Ukraine in every possible way," declared Slovenian Prime Minister Robert Golob on the anniversary of Russia's attack on Ukraine.