The momentum by NATO states to provide Ukraine with tanks picked up steam after German Chancellor Olaf Scholz called out countries for dragging their feet on the matter after criticizing Berlin for dithering on the decision to approve its prized Leopard tanks.
Poland delivered four Leopard tanks last week and will send another 10.
“Poland and Europe stand by your side. We will definitely not leave you, we will support Ukraine until complete victory over Russia,” Mateusz Morawiecki, the Polish prime minister, said during a visit to Kyiv on the first anniversary of the war.
The Finnish Defense Ministry also said it will soon send three Leopard 2 tanks, the Financial Times reported. Sweden also said Friday that it will send up to 10 Leopard 2 tanks and HAWK anti-aircraft systems to the country.
Scholz had promised 14 Leopard 2A6s, newer versions of the tanks, but the German Defense Ministry increased that number to 18. The paper said Scholz hopes to provide Kyiv with two tank battalions, which would be 62 tanks.
“With today’s announcement by Sweden of the delivery of ten Leopard 2 A5 main battle tanks, which are technically similar to the German 2 A6 version, we, together with Portugal, are in a position to provide Ukraine with 31 Leopard 2s,” Germany said in a statement, according to Politico.
Spain said it will provide Ukraine with six older models of the tank; Portugal did not state precisely how many tanks it will provide.
Russia’s most feared tank is the T-90S, and it is believed Moscow has about 200. The Kyiv Post, citing military analysts, reported that it is believed Russia can produce about 30 of these tanks each month, as long as there are no manufacturing disruptions.
Lloyd Austin, the U.S. defense secretary, announced that 11 countries have pledged to deliver tanks to Ukraine, but when these tanks actually arrive there is another matter.
The U.S. said it will send 31 M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine that will be built from scratch and without a special coating with depleted uranium. The idea was to provide Ukraine with weapons to help it respond to another major Russian offensive, but these tanks from the U.S. will not arrive until next year.
“None of the options that we’re exploring are weeks or two months…there are longer timelines involved, but I think there are options that are less than two years, less than a year-and-a-half,” Christine Elizabeth Wormuth, the U.S. secretary of the Army, told reporters last week, according to Defense News.
“There’s a lot of details still that need to be worked out,” she said.
TRENDPOST: Germany first took a “hands-off” approach to the Ukraine War. But with pressure from the United States it has become one of NATO’s biggest weapons supporters to Kyiv and announced a major overhaul to its own military. (See “U.S. OKs $8.4B WEAPONS DEAL FOR GERMANY, MAKING WAR-MACHINE VERY HAPPY” 2 Aug 2022 and “HEIL GERMANY AS IT RAMPS UP WAR MACHINE TO BE EU’S TOP FORCE” 28 Jun 2022.)
While the nation is slipping into recession, Berlin earmarked $107 billion for military projects and will now spend 2 percent of its GDP on its military. Scholz also expressed annoyance that so many countries were urging Germany to allow the transfers of the tanks, and then, once approved, were slow to actually send them.
As we had forecast, no amount of weapons is ever enough for Ukraine, since Russia is, and will defeat them. Again, Russia has some 20 percent more Ukrainian territory than they had before their invasion and some 70 percent of Ukraine’s power and water infrastructure have been destroyed.
The new trend is that European cities are exhibiting burnt-out Russian tanks as a reminder of Moscow’s “unprovoked” invasion, but the plan backfired in Berlin when pro-peace protesters placed roses around the tank and called for an end to the fighting.