Now events are happening in quick succession: after a debate that has been criticized as harsh and too indecisive, Germany, along with leading Poland and possibly other allies, is supplying Leopard-class main battle tanks to Ukraine. The country attacked by Russia will strengthen its ability to recapture the occupied territories and repel attacks. It’s all about it:

Why is Ukraine so urgently claiming a leopard?

From the first day of the war, Ukraine surprised the Russian attackers with its military capabilities: the offensive was stopped and thrown back in eleven months of the war. But now Russia is mobilizing new armored forces for an expected major strike that could result in Ukraine taking heavy casualties or losing even more territory. Like other experts, former NATO General Hans-Lothar Domrese is expecting a “terribly bloody spring offensive.”

What main battle tanks does Ukraine currently have, how can Leopard tanks be better?

Ukraine has hundreds of infantry fighting vehicles and main battle tanks developed by the Soviet Union from its own stocks and from partners (the “ring exchange”). These include older main battle tanks such as the T-72 or T-80, as well as captured tanks left behind by the Russian forces, the T-90’s successor model. Western main battle tanks, in this case the Leopard in particular, must now increase Ukraine’s ability to attack, that is, to retake the occupied territories. These tanks are superior to Russian tanks, especially in more modern versions, and can often destroy the enemy in a “duel”. Experts consider Leopard the best battle tank in the world in its generation.

Former US chief of the US Army in Europe Ben Hodges made it clear on the air of the American radio station NPR that in this way Ukraine could strike at the Russian-held corridor from Donbass to the annexed Crimean peninsula. In addition, Ukraine could form a heavily armored formation with Western battle tanks, “the spearhead of a force that could break through Russian positions towards Mariupol.” And in general, the infantry could pave the way for the offensive with such battle tanks.

Can the federal government deliver Leopard tanks to the feared Russian spring offensive?

During the Cold War, the Bundeswehr had over 2,100 Leopard 2 tanks in stock, which were sold, donated or destroyed in the course of disarmament. Last year, the Bundeswehr still had 312 Leopard 2s, but none of the older Leopard 2A4s, as these are to be handed over to Poland. According to Spiegel, as a first step, the Ukrainian company will be equipped with Leopard 2A6 aircraft from the Bundeswehr warehouse. Later, more tanks may be delivered from the warehouses of the industry, but they still need to be repaired. The head of Rheinmetall, Armin Papperger, told Stern that by the end of March, about 29 Leopard 2A4 main battle tanks, which are intended for the exchange of rings with the Czech Republic and Slovakia, will be ready for use. The Czech Republic on Tuesday made it clear that it will not do without it.

Are there other main battle tanks that are important for Ukraine?

The UK has already said it wants to hand over a Challenger 2 to Kyiv. According to media reports, the US government is now also considering the supply of Abrams main battle tanks to Ukraine. However, for the use of weapon systems, it is preferable that the device be as uniform as possible. A large apparatus may even have to be taken out of Ukraine for repairs. Tank manufacturer KMW and the German Ministry of Defense have set up a workshop center (“hub”) near the border between Slovakia and Ukraine to repair systems such as the Panzerhaubitze 2000 after use at the front and replace wear parts. .

How many Leopard tanks are available?

The American broadcaster ABC News reported Tuesday, citing a Ukrainian government official, that 12 states have declared their readiness to supply Leopard tanks, including Spain, the Netherlands and Denmark. According to the Ukrainian website, there are already 100 Leopards in total. Guarantees were already given last week at the talks on Ukraine in Ramstein. Judging by the numbers, almost all European Leopard users, with the exception of Turkey, should have signaled their readiness. Leopard manufacturer Krauss-Maffei Wegmann has built over 3,500 Leopard 2s to date, with most nations dedicated to their own defense.

What is NATO’s position on this project?

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg called on Tuesday for an early delivery of new weapons, with what he called “heavier and better systems”. The Norwegian said: “The only way to a lasting peace is to make it clear to Putin that he will not win on the battlefield.” Critics warn of further escalation.

How is the mood in Germany?

According to the survey, the possible delivery of Leopard tanks to Ukraine is causing controversy among the German population. 46 percent of those polled in the current “Deutschlandtrend” for ARD “Morgenmagazin” are in favor of it, almost the same number are against it (43 percent). The remaining 11 percent are unable or unwilling to commit. Particularly in East Germany, the majority of respondents are against (between 32 and 59 percent) (dpa/jst).

war against Ukraine

Leopard delivery: Poland applies for approval