Will the West deliver the tanks Ukraine is asking for?

January 17, 2023 2:32 pm

Battle tanks designed by NATO allies - such as those produced by the United Kingdom and Germany - would provide Kyiv's forces with better protection, and more accurate firepower. [Source: Aljazeera]

Ukraine hopes German-made Leopard 2 battle tanks will become the backbone of a new fighting force as it seeks to push back invading Russian forces.

The United Kingdom has pledged to deliver more than a dozen battle tanks to Ukraine as it continues to fight Russia’s invading forces.

Moscow has reacted with fury, saying that all of the units that the UK plans to send “will burn” and do nothing to alter the outcome of its nearly yearlong war.

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The UK announcement is likely to increase pressure on Germany to allow the export of German-made tanks to Ukraine, as several European countries await Berlin’s approval.

Here’s what you need to know:

Why is Ukraine calling for tanks?

The Ukrainian government has repeatedly pleaded for additional weapons – including battle tanks – from its Western allies to bolster its effort to push Russian forces out of the country.

Until now, Ukraine has relied primarily on Soviet-era T-72 tank variants.

Battle tanks designed by NATO countries – such as those produced by the UK and Germany – would provide Kyiv’s forces with better protection, and more accurate firepower.

However, they would not provide an instantaneous boost in terms of combat capability because Ukrainian forces would need to be trained to use any tanks supplied by Western allies – a process that is likely to take several weeks at least, if not longer.