What Tanks Did Western Countries Deliver to Ukraine?
12:44 GMT 18.01.2023 (Updated: 17:10 GMT 20.06.2023)
The West continues to funnel weapons into Ukraine despite Russia’s repeated warnings that doing so will further prolong the Ukrainian conflict and will make convoys of arms a legitimate target for the Russian military.
Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces Valery Gerasimov said late last month that since the start of Moscow’s special military operation in Ukraine on February 24, Western countries have provided Kiev with more than 350 tanks, among other military hardware. Who exactly was involved in those tank deliveries and will more such supplies be in the pipeline? Sputnik answers these and other questions.
Will the US Greenlight M1 Tanks for Ukraine ?
Last week, the Biden administration declined to clarify whether the US would send its M1 Abrams main battle tanks to Ukraine.
This was preceded by a US newspaper citing unnamed White House officials as saying that Washington would not deliver the M1s to Kiev, allegedly because their heavy fuel consumption and propensity to break down make these 60-ton tanks unsuitable for the Ukrainian military.
© Joseph A. Lambach, U.S. Marine Corps/ WikipediaM1A1 Abrams tank
M1A1 Abrams tank
© Joseph A. Lambach, U.S. Marine Corps/ Wikipedia
The remarks apparently poured cold water on Ukrainian authorities, who have repeatedly requested the delivery of the US-made tanks, describing them as something that will be crucial to Ukraine’s push to prevail over Russia, which continues its special military operation in Ukraine.
How Many Tanks Will the UK Supply to Kiev?
In a separate development last week, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in a phone call that London would provide Kiev with 14 British Challenger 2 main battle tanks.
According to Downing Street, a squadron of the Challenger 2s will be delivered “in the coming weeks.”
© Wikipedia / UK Ministry of DefenceA Challenger 2 main battle tank (MBT) is pictured during a live firing exercise in Grafenwöhr, Germany
A Challenger 2 main battle tank (MBT) is pictured during a live firing exercise in Grafenwöhr, Germany
© Wikipedia / UK Ministry of Defence
UK Chief of General Staff General Sir Patrick Sanders has meanwhile reportedly warned that supplying Challenger 2 tanks to Ukraine would leave Britain “temporarily weaker”, something that he claimed would “leave a gap” in British inventory. Sanders also “hinted at the military’s unease” over the decision by No 10 to send the British main battle tanks to Kiev.
What About Germany's Leopard 2 Tanks?
Berlin is under pressure to permit the supply of German-made Leopard tanks to the Ukrainian military, who now mainly rely on versions of the Soviet-era T-72 tank.
German authorities insist the Leopard 2s, regarded as among the West’s best battle tanks, should only be supplied to Ukraine if there is agreement among Kiev’s key allies.
© AFP 2023 / ERIC PIERMONTThe battle tank Leopard 2 A7 is presented by German Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) on June 14, 2010 at Eurosatory 2010 in Villepinte near Paris
The battle tank Leopard 2 A7 is presented by German Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) on June 14, 2010 at Eurosatory 2010 in Villepinte near Paris
© AFP 2023 / ERIC PIERMONT
Poland, for its part, earlier said that it wants to send 14 Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine as part of NATO’s coordinated effort, but that Warsaw needs Berlin’s approval to do so due to rules governing the re-export of German military equipment. The move was echoed by Finland, who also floated the possibility of supplying Ukraine with Leopard 2 tanks, adding, though, that Helsinki’s actions depend on Germany’s stance.
How Many Tanks Did Poland Send to Ukraine?
Warsaw provided Kiev with more than 260 T-72 tanks in the months that followed Russia announcing the beginning of its special military operation in Ukraine on February 24.
Pawel Soloch, head of Poland's National Security Bureau, told a Polish news outlet last year that Warsaw “has supplied, is supplying and will continue to supply Ukraine with military assistance, in particular, the T-72 tanks.”
Now it’s worth noting that the T-72 entered service at the then-Soviet Army back in 1973. Since then, the tank has been modernized at least 14 times.
Were There Tank Supplies to Kiev From Czech Republic?
Earlier this month, Russian Deputy Security Council head Dmitry Medvedev pointed out that Russia’s foes financed the modernization of its 100 T-72 tanks “in order to supply them to Ukraine from the Soviet legacy.”
He was apparently referring to a trilateral agreement between the Czech Republic, the US and the Netherlands to team up to deliver at least upgraded T-72B tanks to Kiev before the end of this year. A US news outlet noted in this vein last year that the tanks “will come from the inventory of the Czech defense industry” and that “they aren’t Czech army tanks”.
Earlier in 2022, Czech media claimed that Prague had supplied up to 40 non-modernized T-72 tanks to Kiev as part of its military aid to Ukraine. The Czech Defense Ministry confirmed the delivery but remained tight-lipped on the exact number of the tanks.
What Tanks Did Slovenia Deliver to Ukraine?
It seems that Ljubljana went even further in terms of sending moth-balled Soviet-era tanks to the Ukrainian military.
© Sputnik / Г.ШутовT-55 medium tank during Soviet Army drills. File photo.
T-55 medium tank during Soviet Army drills. File photo.
© Sputnik / Г.Шутов/
Media reports said in September 2022 that Slovenia would provide Ukraine with 28 M-55S tanks, an upgraded version of the T-55, which was produced between 1958 and 1979.
One US magazine painted the T-55 as a “hopelessly obsolete tank,” which however purportedly can serve as “a cheap and reliable platform.”