Leopard decision – military expert: “Battle tanks are not a panacea”


According to Swiss military expert Niklas Masuhr, the Russian army has overcome the weak phases of the last months of the war in Ukraine and has definitively strengthened its position – including by setting up defensive lines. “We are heading for a situation where main battle tanks play an important role in defense and counter-offensives,” says Masuhr, who at the same time warns: “Main battle tanks are not a panacea.”

The retrofitting of Ukrainian tanks is made more difficult because Russia has destroyed many factories and production lines for tank munitions, for example. The NATO countries have already made their old reserves available. Accordingly, western main battle tanks such as the German-made Leopard or the US-made Abrams were now entering the picture. According to information from coalition circles, the federal government approved the delivery of Leopard tanks on Tuesday evening after weeks of shuffling.

The decision will be officially announced on Wednesday. U.S. President Joe Biden could also come up with similar news soon. A quick decision is now also making the rounds in Washington.

Last but not least, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy stressed that Ukraine not only needs one company, as the German media reported on Tuesday night, but also needs significantly more main battle tanks. “It’s not about five or ten or fifteen tanks. The need is greater,” the commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian army explained in a video message on Tuesday evening. According to military expert Masuhr, who conducts research at the Center for Security Studies at ETH University in Zurich, Kiev could equip a Western tank brigade with at least 100 Western tanks.

Could become a “logistical nightmare”.
“But main battle tanks are not a panacea. They must be deployed as a group and repaired and equipped with ammunition.” In an interview with the dpa news agency, the expert also pointed to a logistical nightmare for Ukraine if deliveries were not properly coordinated. Even different versions of the same type meant additional challenges.

“If Ukraine wants to be able to defend itself in the longer term, it is important that the logistics system does not become too complicated,” says Masuhr. It would probably be very useful for Ukraine if Western tank parts were partly maintained and repaired outside its borders – as is already the case with artillery pieces.

Source: Krone


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