On January 25 after months of mounting pressure, the United States and Germany agreed to send tanks to Ukraine. 

While announcing the decision at the White House Joe Biden said “Putin expected Europe and the United States to weaken our resolve. He expected our support for Ukraine to crumble with time. He was wrong.”

Volodymyr Zelensky said moves taken by two western countries are an important step towards ensuring the victory of Ukraine against Russia. He said “today the free world is united as never before for a common goal- the liberation of Ukraine. 

The US and German announcements have been denounced by Russian officials as “blatant provocation.” Sending the Abrams would be a waste of money, according to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, since “These tanks burn like all the rest.” Simply said, they are incredibly pricey.

The New York Times reports that Zelensky and General Valery Zaluzhny, his senior-most military commander, believe that Ukraine urgently needs about 300 Western tanks to not only defend itself but also “make a difference” in its effort to reclaim the lost territories in the face of an anticipated Russian springtime offensive.

The UK decided to send 14 Challenger 2 tanks to Ukraine before the US and Germany. Additionally, France has stated that it will provide the nation with its AMX-10 RC light battle tanks.

State-of-the-art battle tank 

M1 Abrams and Leopard 2 Both are considered more powerful than soviet era tanks that Russia and Ukraine currently have. 

The US’s primary combat tank, the Abrams, was originally given to the armed forces in 1980. It can hold a crew of four people, including the driver, and weighs about 67 tonnes. The tank is protected from any direct fire by a sophisticated Chobham composite armor. It has a range of 1,005 kilometers and a top speed of 67.5 km/h. The weapons include a 7.62 mm M240 machine gun, a 12.7 mm machine gun, and an M256 120 mm smoothbore cannon.

All of these, however, have a consequence. Abrams tanks are challenging to maintain and require substantial training to operate. According to the AP article, whether the tank is moving or not, it “burns through fuel at a pace of at least two gallons every mile (4.7 liters per km)”.

The Abrams tank is a very complex piece of gear. It’s pricey and challenging to train on. The system requires some work to keep up with. Colin Kahl, the US undersecretary of defense for policy, has indicated that it might or might not be the best system.

The Leopard 2 requires less training and is simpler to use and maintain. The 55-ton tank is propelled by an MTU MB 873 diesel engine. It has armaments like a fully digital fire-control system and a 120 mm smoothbore gun.

Impact on war 

Effects on Ukraine and the conflict

Despite their agreement to send tanks to Ukraine, the US and Germany may not have a direct influence on the conflict right away, according to experts. The Leopard 2s won’t enter combat for at least another two months, while it may take “several months” for the Abrams to be active in Ukraine. If these tanks live up to their promise of changing the game, that much is yet unknown.

It is not enough to have military-grade Land Rovers or armored patrol vehicles for Ukraine to have any hope of going on the offensive; they also need some mobility with big weaponry. They require a weapon that can disarm Russian tanks from a distance, a diplomat from an EU nation considering giving Ukraine several cutting-edge battle tanks told POLITICO.

Will tank provide the advantage 

According to analysts, southern Ukraine’s flat terrain is where tanks can be most effective. The Russian military has also constructed trenches and hardened shelters there. They believe that the Western tanks can simply crush them, giving Ukraine the much-needed tactical advantage in the conflict.

Notably, Ukraine had requested 300 tanks from the West; yet, even with the most recent additions, the total number of tanks committed is still less than 100. The Western allies are expecting that the Leopard 2 will be able to stave off the Russian spring attack and deal a large amount of damage to them before the Abrams can perhaps strike the fatal blow.

Other observers, however, contend that President Putin and his forces aren’t particularly alarmed by the most recent development in the situation and that Russia would attempt to strengthen its position in the Donbas and the south well before the Abrams arrive.

According to a CNN article, the US and German decision dispels the long-held notion that “certain components of NATO assistance to Ukraine could risk upsetting a nuclear power too far.” According to the article, the Western allies have strategically spaced out the shipment of weaponry to allow for a gradual rise in tensions without causing Moscow to take sudden action.

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