The U.S. announced last week that it will ship 31 M1A1 Abrams tanks to Germany within a few weeks and Spain said it already sent its first batch of Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine as the West anticipates a new offensive waged by Kyiv to retake land seized by Russian forces in the last 14 months.
The tanks from the U.S. will arrive at U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria Grafenwoehr, where Ukrainian forces will train on the equipment, The Wall Street Journal reported. About 250 troops from Ukraine will learn how to operate and repair these tanks, one defense official said. The training will last for about 10 weeks. The Air Force Times reported that Ukrainian forces could stay longer at the base to learn “advanced combat maneuvers.”
The paper noted that these tanks, armed with a 120 mm main gun and armor-piercing ammunition, will be a significant addition to Kyiv’s ground forces. Indeed, these tanks are some of the most powerful equipment in the U.S. arsenal.
Gen. Mark Milley, the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, admitted that there are no “silver bullets” to help Ukraine defeat Russia, but he said he believes these tanks will “be very effective on the battlefield.”
Spain said its shipment of six Leopard 2A4 tanks left the Spanish port city of Santander on Saturday. WSWS noted that Madrid’s commitment is part of the effort by nine European countries to provide Ukraine with 150 tanks. So far, Germany provided Ukraine with 18 Leopards and Portugal provided another three.
Spain owns about 350 Leopard 2 tanks. Spain is refurbishing four additional tanks that will be delivered at a later date. Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky said Thursday that Denmark and The Netherlands announced plans to purchase 14 Leopard 2A4 tanks. Forbes noted that this number will increase the total of Leopard tanks to Ukraine to 85. The report noted that these 14 Leopard tanks will be refurbished and not arrive until 2024.
Russia’s most feared tank is the T-90S, and it is believed Moscow has about 200. The Kyiv Post, citing military analysts, reported last month that it is believed Russia can produce about 30 of these tanks each month, as long as there are no manufacturing disruptions.
Russian state media has said the Leopard tanks that have been earlier received by Ukraine have failed on the battlefield because they have been mothballed and were hastily refurbished. Newsweek reported that the head of German military manufacturer Rheinmetall warned that these tanks would need to be “completely dismantled and rebuilt.”
Christian Mölling, a defense expert at the German Council on Foreign Relations, told The New York Times in February that before the war, the trend for European armies has been “cutting, cutting, cutting.”
“But, at the end of the day, many were on the same track as Germany: War is a theoretical thing. So we have theoretical tanks.”
TRENDPOST: It is worth noting that Pedro Sánchez, the Spanish prime minister, faced criticism from the opposition party in the country when he opted to send the tanks. His critics say these tanks will only prolong the war.
Russia has accused the West of providing Ukraine with these weapons with the sole purpose of keeping the war going to weaken Moscow. The West once hesitated to provide Kyiv with tanks out of concerns the move would be escalatory. But the West has gotten bolder in its support for Ukraine. (See “U.K. NUKE NUTS SENDING KYIV DEPLETED URANIUM WEAPONRY” 28 Mar 2023, “NATO SPEEDS UP UKRAINE WAR WITH MORE TANKS TO UKRAINE” 28 Feb 2023, and “U.K. TO SEND TANKS TO UKRAINE, PRESSURE ON GERMANY’S SCHOLZ TO UNLEASH THE LEOPARDS” 17 Jan 2023.)
Ukraine has said it will need 300 Western tanks to win the war and force Russian troops out of the country. Ukrainian fighters have been using a fleet of Soviet-designed tanks.
Oleksiy Reznikov, the Ukrainian defense minister, expressed gratitude to NATO countries for providing his country with MiG-29 fighters and new air defense systems. But The Financial Times said he also demanded “NATO-grade fighter jets and larger supplies of previously supplied air defense systems, including shorter-range American-Norwegian Nasams and German Iris-Ts.”
Reznikov’s call for “NATO-style” fighters was a thinly veiled nod to U.S.-produced F-16s.
Ukraine said it needs F-16s, the fourth-generation fighter jet. There are two Ukrainian pilots in the U.S. already training on F-16s.
Colin Kahl, the Pentagon policy chief, told the House Armed Services Committee earlier this year that the soonest F-16s could be provided to Ukraine would be in 18 months.
“It is a priority for the Ukrainians, but it’s not one of their top three priorities,” Kahl said. “Their top priorities are air defense systems … artillery and fires, which we’ve talked about, and armor and mechanized systems.”
TREND FORECAST: By sending more weapons it is only causing more death, destruction, and hardship for the nation and its people that are suffering from the war mentally, physically, and economically. Talk of Peace is forbidden and anyone in America doing so is labeled a “Putin puppet by Washington and the Presstitute media.
Again, as we had forecast before the Russian invasion, Ukraine will not defeat Russia and Kyiv would have been wise to negotiate a peace deal with Moscow before the war began.