Ukraine needs heavy tanks for the counter-offensive it plans to launch this spring. For now it has received a few dozen countries such as Poland and Germany. Some French and Spanish are coming, but it’s anything but more than 200 which should add up If all promises are kept.
They will be of three types: British Challenger 2, German-made Leopard 2 and American Abrams.
The Secretary of Defense of the United States, Lloyd Austin, who met this Friday at the US base in Ramstein, Germany, with about fifty countries that, more or less, are helping Ukraine with military material, promised that the pace of sending tanks will increase. And he announced that Ukrainian tankers will begin training to handle the Abrams in the coming weeks.
The participants also promised to increase shipments of ammunition (Ukraine consumes more than European and American industries have produced so far) and anti-aircraft weapons.
Poland and Germany have announced an agreement so that the German-made Leopard 2 tanks that several countries have already started delivering to Ukraine will have their maintenance base on Polish territory.
It will go into operation at the end of May and will have a budget, paid by Germany, of between 150 and 200 million euros. Berlin promises that by July at the latest it will have delivered 80 tanks to Ukraine.
Rockets and fighter planes
Ukraine has requested long range missiles (which it will not receive for now), modern fighter planes (they are starting to arrive but only Russian MiGs which were in the arsenals of several countries which were Warsaw Pact members and are now NATO members) and more ammo.
When Ramstein was asked Milley if he would look into the Ukrainian request for fighter jets, the US general simply replied what Ukraine needs most right now are anti-aircraft defenses.
On Thursday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky asked NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg to mediate in order to convince member states of the Atlantic Alliance to send him the weapons they currently refuse to send.
US General Mark Milley assured Ramstein that the arrival of the Abrams, who are expected to appear in Ukraine in June or July, “will make a difference”.
Milley claimed that the American tank is the best in the world, although its maintenance and repair is more complex because instead of a diesel engine it has a turbine. Last January, the United States had promised Kiev the shipment of 31 tanks.
The United States assures that the Abrams will arrive in Germany in a few weeks and several hundred Ukrainian soldiers will be trained to handle them on German territory. When they finish training estimated to last 10 weeks, the tanks will go to Ukraine. NATO and its member states have never explained how they will get them into that country invaded by Russia, but everything indicates that they do it through Poland.
Ukraine in NATO?
The other issue that emerged during the meeting, against the will of various countries, including the United States, is the hypothesis of a Ukraine member of NATO.
kyiv wants the NATO summit in Vilnius in July to confirm the invitation made to it in 2008 and for Ukraine to join at short notice.
Nobody expects it to be like this and only some countries (Poland, Baltic countries) want to give that signal.
The rest, in order to buy time, are asking to concentrate on what is urgent, so that Russia does not win the war against Ukraine. Or as German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius put it: “First things first.”
Mary Ortiz is a seasoned journalist with a passion for world events. As a writer for News Rebeat, she brings a fresh perspective to the latest global happenings and provides in-depth coverage that offers a deeper understanding of the world around us.