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Frustration Grows as Germany Hesitant on Ukrainian Tanks

Updated: Apr 29, 2023

Brian Gornick, Staff Writer

A battle tank of the Armoured Brigade. Photo//Heikki Saukkomaa/Lehtikuva via AP

As the United States and NATO allies announced a massive weapons package for Ukraine last Friday that would supply Ukraine with a large amount of Western weapons, controversy has arisen over one key component that is missing, tanks.

Western nations have provided armored support to Ukraine, such as the United Kingdom who last week promised to send a squadron of 14 Challenger 2 tanks to Ukraine. However, it pales in the hundreds of tanks that Ukraine has requested in the face of a possible Russian offensive in the upcoming spring.

Most of Ukraine’s armed forces are using armor from the Soviet era, including T-72 tanks. The hundreds of tanks that Ukraine is requesting are particularly newer Western models such as the German Leopard 2 and the American Abrams.

American leaders believe that sending Abrams tanks to Ukraine would be too costly. Not only are they incredibly expensive to run and repair, but it would also take a long time to train Ukrainian tank crews to run the tanks efficiently.

With Germany’s Leopard 2 tanks, the issue is getting them to the Ukrainian army. Germany has been reluctant to send its own Leopard 2 tanks in stockpile to Ukraine. There has been speculation that Germany may block other European nations from exporting their own Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine.

Estimates state that there are over 2,000 Leopard 2 tanks in use around the world. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky claims that Ukraine only needs around 300 to ensure a Russian defeat.

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