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The United States will provide the Czech Republic with eight Bell military helicopters free of charge, the US Embassy in Prague said, Reuters reported.

The Czechs are seeking to speed up the modernization of their army by scrapping Soviet-era equipment, including a fleet of helicopters, and have handed over surplus equipment to Ukraine.

"It is being shown that our clear and unwavering stance since the start of Russian invasion to Ukraine is paying off," Defense Minister Jana Cernochova said. "Not only we gained respect of our allies due to our efforts in helping Ukraine, but we also received their support in modernising our army."

The helicopters come in addition to the 12 previously ordered and will be provided free of charge, except for transfer and modernization costs, the US Embassy said on Twitter.

"We confirm with pleasure the transfer of 6 AH-1Z a 2 UH-1Y under the Excess Defense Articles programme," the embassy said in a statement.

The Czech Republic will receive 10 AH-1Z Viper attack helicopters and 10 UH-1Y Venom utility helicopters. The previously ordered planes are due to arrive in 2023.

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