Western countries cannot find Leopard tanks to send to Ukraine

Olaf Scholz, the German chancellor, is displeased with the posture of the allies regarding the transfer of tanks to Ukraine.

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Joseph P Chacko
Joseph P Chacko
Joseph P. Chacko is the publisher of Frontier India. He holds an M.B.A in International Business. Books: Author: Foxtrot to Arihant: The Story of Indian Navy's Submarine Arm; Co Author : Warring Navies - India and Pakistan. *views are Personal

Berlin was compelled to stop importing cheap gas from Russia and send tanks manufactured in Germany to Ukraine to fight against Russia. Currently, Olaf Scholz, the German chancellor, is displeased with the posture of the allies regarding the transfer of tanks to Ukraine. The politician rebuked the countries that failed to send the necessary weapons to Kyiv after convincing Berlin to do the same. He suggests discussing a similar subject with the nations “who so forcefully pleaded for action.”

Berlin will send a company of 14 tanks as part of the country’s preparation to build two tank battalions. Defense Minister Boris Pistorius claims that Ukraine can receive its first tanks in about three months. Plans to supply tanks to Ukraine were disclosed in Spain, Finland, Portugal, the Netherlands, and Norway after Germany made its decision. The transfer of 31 M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine was announced at the same time by US President Joe Biden. These may reach after 10 months as per Pentagon.

The Netherlands leases 18 Leopards from Germany. It was reported that the country was willing to purchase them and send them to Ukraine. After it was reported in the media that the Netherlands had withdrawn its support for the probable sale of Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, the Netherlands stated on February 15 stating that it had not changed its position on the matter.

ABC News had reported that at a meeting held in Ramstein on January 20, deliveries of around 100 Leopard 2 tanks were announced.

Greece, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Croatia, Turkey and Croatia have all declined to send their Leopard tanks to Ukraine.

Before, Sweden had stated that it did not exclude the possibility of sending its Stridsvagn 122 tanks, but the current status of the situation is still being determined.

France is sending its AMX-10 RC light vehicles with wheels but not Leclerc tanks. France has called it ‘light tanks’. 

According to the American channel ABC News, at a meeting in Ramstein on January 20, deliveries of about 100 Leopard 2 tanks were announced in total. Kyiv has already received 350-400 Soviet-made tanks from abroad, mainly T-72s.

At least 2,000 Leopard 2 tanks and hundreds of other types of Western battle tanks are held by the European military.

But as per British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace, many countries could not find serviceable tanks to send to Ukraine after the political decision. In an interview with the German edition of Der Spiegel, he noted that the Bundeswehr has such problems, and in other countries, the situation is no different.

“There are obvious problems. There is a political solution, it is true, but many countries are finding that their armies do not have serviceable tanks that they can supply,” said Mr. Wallace (rough translation ). According to him, countries had to state that their tanks were either out of order or not repaired for delivery. “We were all forced to realize with pain that our armies have been more or less exhausted in the last 30 years,” the minister added.

Berlin did not intend to be among the first Western nations to deliver tanks to Kyiv and therefore contribute to the escalation of the conflict, but Berlin may end up being the major contributor, as Kyiv will make more demands in the future. Poland is also contributing 14 Leopard 1 tanks, which are of an older model.

Officials in the Ukrainian military have long stated that they require at least 300 Western tanks to make a difference in the fight.

Ben Wallace noted that the Allies had information about how many tanks they had. However, in reality, “too few of them are serviceable.” According to the minister, the same situation has developed with the supply of ammunition. However, Mr. Wallace does not consider tanks a “magic potion” that can immediately change the situation on the battlefield, so he attaches great importance to the training of the Ukrainian army.

The Kremlin has already highlighted that this will not influence the course of the special military operation in response to reports that the West planned to supply modern tanks to the Ukrainian military.

In this fight of quick attrition, the Russians still have thousands of tanks at their disposal. The West will never be able to match such numbers one to one.

The West, however, is relying on its perception of the superiority of the Leopard or Abrams over even the most advanced Russian tank. If the West could provide 500 to 1,000 tanks, it would significantly impact the Ukrainians and the battle. But, the quality also needs fixing with maintenance and training, a problem the West is battling.


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