This week the Leopard II tanks that NATO supplies to Ukraine began to arrive. Will they be decisive?.
Photo: 3rd "Iron" Tank Brigade
LatinAmerican Post | Santiago Gómez Hernández
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Leer en español: Así puede cambiar la guerra la llegada de los tanques a Ucrania
After months and months, what the Ukrainian president, Volodimir Zelensky, had been asking for finally arrived. The first 18 Leopard II tanks come in Kyiv and may be decisive for the immediate future of the conflict. What does the arrival of tanks mean?
Tanks are a necessary item for modern warfare. Its protection, mobility, and firepower are essential for troop deployment. They are needed to gain ground, precisely what both sides are trying to do in Ukraine today.
Despite what many would think of the obsolescence of this military system today, the war in Ukraine shows that tanks are still a helpful tool. It protects the troops on the ground and allows the advance. Now the arrival of modern tanks in Ukraine is not only good news for Zelensky, but the heavy losses of the Russian army are also inversely correlated. Since the start of the war more than a year ago, Russia has lost countless tanks, helicopters, and human lives. The UK Ministry of Defense recently claimed that "the Russian 10th Tank Regiment would have lost a large part of its tanks in the attempt to encircle Avdiivka from the south."
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The losses are so many that several western sources assure that Russia has used T-62 and T-54/55 tanks, typical of the 50s and 60s of the last century. This contrasts with the arrival of Leopard 2 and Challenger 2, which could unlock the front.
Despite the arrival of these essential military elements that can unbalance the balance, Russia continues with greater force. First, with the possibility of missile attacks and bombing. Although Ukraine has received weapons and ammunition from NATO member countries, the vast majority is limited to shots for conventional weapons and anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons. Likewise, they have already acquired short- and medium-range missiles to attack the Russian rear. However, Russia has a large arsenal of long-range missiles that allows them to subject different Ukrainian cities to the constant siege of thousands of rockets. Russia has denounced the deployment of long-range GLSDB missiles in Ukraine by the United States, but Kyiv has only been able to hit strategic locations.
But the difference in the arsenal is nuclear weapons. Russia is the enormous atomic power on the planet, and with different types of firearms, it is subjected to a constant threat of its use. However, neither side wants to escalate the conflict, and using these types of weapons could have catastrophic consequences throughout the planet.
Zenlensky Still Calls for Fighter Planes
Despite the arrival of tanks, Kyiv maintains its request for more weapons. Especially, Ukraine calls for fighters to provide air superiority. Despite the reluctance of the NATO members, the arrival of the tanks is one more step towards a future landing of soldiers.
Zelenski asks for them to gain air control. According to the Ukrainian government, there are only two options: either NATO creates a no-fly zone where Russian planes are not allowed to fly, or they provide the Ukrainian army with planes to counter Russian superiority. The first option is ruled out from the start, as this would mean a direct conflict between NATO and Russia and would quickly escalate the war. The second option still looks distant, but less and less so. This also represents a risk of escalation during an increasing rejection of military investment in Ukraine by sectors of the population in the United States and other allies.