Ukraine is expected to start receiving deliveries of Western-made tanks in the coming months after the US, UK and Germany decided to step up their support for the country amid a war with Russia.
The United States and Germany announced this week that they would be sending the long-awaited M1 Abrams and Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine. Poland has also sent Leopard 2 fighting vehicles, and the UK announced earlier this month that Challenger 2 tanks would be delivered to Ukraine. Additional countries have committed, or at least indicated, to provide Ukraine with even more tanks.
In theory, Russian President Vladimir Putin has sufficient stockpiles and should be able to deploy additional tanks on the battlefield as Ukraine’s own tank supply is being bolstered by the West. . According to the Military Balance 2021 database, Russian storage facilities hold about 10,200 tanks, The Kyiv Independent reported in his September 2022 report. Newsweek We were unable to independently verify the figures in our database and contacted the Russian Ministry of Defense for confirmation.
However, experts say the Putin government will face some major challenges if it tries to deploy tanks in Ukraine.
Former U.S. Army Intelligence Colonel Dan Soller said: Newsweek Tanks stocked by Russia require trained crews to operate them. Assuming all of Russia’s estimated 10,000 tanks are operational (which it probably isn’t), each tank requires several people, so tens of thousands to operate them. may become.
Soler suspects many of the Russian tanks in storage are “not effectively maintained” and said some are being used for spare parts. The “overwhelming majority” believe that it is probably not even operational.
David Silvey, associate professor of history at Cornell University and director of teaching and learning at Cornell University in Washington, said: Newsweek It is “very unclear” how many tanks Russia will be able to pull from its stockpile and resume operations in Ukraine. , said there were “pretty strong indications that they weren’t in good shape.”
“It’s not like a vending machine where you put money in and get a T-72,” Silvie said, referring to a type of Russian tank.
In addition to the problem of having well-trained crews to operate the tanks, the tanks themselves need to be operational again. So while Russia’s estimated stockpile may seem daunting to Ukrainians, “I can’t imagine them being able to put it on the battlefield so quickly,” Silvie said.
Leopard 2 and Challenger 2 tanks are expected to start arriving in Ukraine in the coming weeks or months, but Abrams deliveries are expected to take longer.
If Ukraine deploys tanks on the battlefield, their impact on the war will depend on how effectively they are used together with other elements such as artillery, other armored fighting vehicles, missiles, intelligence and communications. I’m here.
“Numbers may not be the most important thing in this matter,” Soler said. “Most important is orchestration. Think of it as a symphony. It’s all the different parts of a combined weapon working together to produce the intended effect on the battlefield.”