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New Leopard 2 tanks put Ukraine on the offense

Ukrainian forces begin training with advanced Leopard 2 tanks, hoping to end Russia’s attacks on Ukraine

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A soldier on a Leopard 2 tank operates at the Field Marshal Rommel Barracks in Augustdorf, Germany, Feb. 1, 2023.

A soldier on a Leopard 2 tank fires during a visit of German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius at the Bundeswehr tank battalion 203 at the Field Marshal Rommel Barracks in Augustdorf, Germany, Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023. After the government’s decision to deliver 14 Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, the capabilities of the Leopard 2A6 main battle tank are shown at a presentation in Augustdorf.

Martin Meissner, Associated Press

Lt. Gen. Serhiy Naiev of the Ukrainian forces believes tanks are the next phase in the progression of the war against Russia.

Ukraine has officially begun training with highly advanced Leopard 2 tanks this week. Najev told CNN “Of course, we need a large number of Western tanks. They are much better than the Soviet models and can help us advance.” He added, “We are creating new military units. And our next actions will depend on their combat readiness. Therefore, Western assistance is extremely important.”

Canadian Defense Minister Anita Anand tweeted on Sunday evening that Canada, along with Ukraine’s other allies, would be moving forward in training Ukrainian soldiers to use the advanced equipment. French news outlet France 24 said that “Canada, Poland, Germany, the UK and the US have announced they will supply battle tanks to Ukraine.”

Turning point in the war

Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Ukraine’s Presidential Administration, told CNN last week, that “300 to 400 of these tanks, in fact, would outdo 2,000 to 3,000 Soviet-era tanks … It would sharply accelerate the tempo of the war and initiate the closing stages.”

Multiple sources claim Ukrainian forces were using scraps at this point in the war to maintain their previous — and very aged — T-72 tanks. That’s a sharp contrast to Leopard 2s, which have a resourceful production line for spare parts.

Podolyak said he expects the new tanks would keep the war contained. “It wouldn’t spread, but remain on the occupied territories and be decided with tank warfare.” He added that he believes the Russians are “going to bring in a lot more troops, a lot of old Soviet equipment, everything, according to our estimates, that they have left.”

When asked about the constant demand of resources Ukraine is asking from its allies Podolyak responded, “Our guys aren’t leaving the battlefield, even if they aren’t provided with new weaponry. They’ll just die more often and with greater regularity.

“I understand that some countries may feel tired of this war,” he told CNN.

“But we are the ones who are paying the real price for freedom. We are the ones whose people are dying because of Russian aggression.”