Why is the question of tanks claimed by kyiv so central (and complex)?

On this issue, Ukraine continues to press. For several months, Volodymyr Zelensky had been asking his Western allies for heavy tanks. the kyiv foot call appears to have paid off, at least in part. Britain specifically promised delivery of 14 Challenger 2s, becoming the first Western country to deliver this type of armored vehicle.

On Thursday, while visiting the Ukrainian capital, European Council President Charles Michel announced that “the tanks must be delivered. »

The day after this announcement, during a meeting of Ukrainian supporters at the American airbase in Ramstein (Germany), the Ukrainian president once again urged the allies to “unleash a large supply that will stop evil”.

“I could thank you hundreds of times (for the support already given, editorial note) but hundreds of thanks are not hundreds of tanks”, the head of state insisted, while France and the United States were reluctant to the idea. sent huge tanks to kyiv, which claimed several hundred.

For 20 minutesMichel Goya, former colonel of the navy, historian and strategist, the delivery of western tanks by the allies, if they decide, will not be able to make a significant impact on the front for many long weeks.

Could Germany’s decision to send heavy tanks (or not) change the outcome of this war?

Germany received an allied meeting, and its positions were scrutinized. Like Paris and Washington, Chancellor Olaf Scholz has expressed trepidation at the idea of ​​sending his heavy weapons to Kyiv. However, according to our expert, Germany is one of the two Western countries with the United States with the largest stock of heavy weapons.

“There are around 1,500 Leopard 2 available in several European countries. It’s more than Leclercs and British tanks. This type of tank does not always go anywhere, but it is strong, resistant. In the open country, he remains the king of the battlefield. From a tactical point of view, they are very much ahead of what lies ahead, ”explains the analyst.

“Usually, Western tanks (Germany, United States, France, Great Britain) are superior to Russian tanks,” General Jean-Paul Paloméros told the newspaper. Parisian.

Lastly, the Ukrainian army had to practice handling these devices. “With experienced enough tankers, learning can go fast, convinced Michel Goya, but it still takes at least a few weeks.” And perhaps, for the Patriot missile, the formation of the Ukrainian army abroad of its French counterpart Sébastien Lecornu in kyiv, December 28, 2022. With this new engine, Ukraine will be faced with new test logistics. Will he be able to overcome it?

Another problem: every shipment of German war materials had to be validated by Berlin. Poland, which estimates it can deliver 14 Leopard 2 tanks to neighboring Ukraine, is immobile.

Friday afternoon, Berlin’s position did not change. “No decision has been taken” on the delivery of the Leopard 2 tanks, German Minister Boris Pistorius said, warning that the idea that Germany was against the delivery of tanks to Kyiv “is wrong”.

What are the conditions and delivery times for heavy tanks in Ukraine?

In order to transport this powerful machine to the front, the allies and Ukraine had to employ “vital logistical means”, as France Info Peer de Jong, a geopolitics specialist and former naval forces colonel, recalled.

The tanks weigh 60 tons and moving takes time. “Over long distances, they can be moved by rail or tank carriers so as not to damage or cause the ground to collapse. They also need to be able to cross bridges that can withstand heavy loads,” the former colonel warned.

According to him, it will take at least a few weeks for delivery. “If Poland sends their tanks, or the French decide to take Leclerc stationed in Romania, the tanks could return to Ukraine fairly quickly. But it is difficult to imagine that the tanks could have an impact on the battle for several months”, continues the expert.

Is the Ukrainian army qualified to own this type of equipment and manage its maintenance?

Maintenance and training, two key points that prevented the United States from providing Abrams tanks to kyiv. “The problem has arisen with the artillery. The military equipment used varies. This requires a fairly heavy maintenance structure that is specific to each machine,” says Michel Goya.

“We have three levels of maintenance. Basic repairs on the battlefield, which can be provided by Ukrainian companies, of moderate complexity, and which require the transfer of equipment abroad”, details Oleksii Reznikov, Minister of Defense of Ukraine, upon the arrival of his French counterpart Sébastien Lecornu in kyiv on 28 December 2022. With this new machine, Ukraine will face new logistical challenges. Will he be able to overcome them?

Lastly, the Ukrainian army had to practice handling these devices. “With experienced enough tankers, learning can go fast, convinced Michel Goya, but it still takes at least a few weeks.” And maybe, like the Patriot anti-aircraft systems, formations of the Ukrainian army abroad.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *