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Ukrainian Officials Struggle To Train Military With New Western Weapons Before A Russian Offensive

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A few kilometers from the Belarus border, the Ukrainian military is preparing for what they anticipate will be a violent spring. Ukrainian officials struggle to train military with new western weapons.

While ground forces practice attacking abandoned structures, aging T-72 tanks – some with crews who are twice as old – shoot into the mist. A portion of the training takes place in the ghost town of Pripyat, which has been abandoned since the Chernobyl nuclear tragedy in 1986.

Lieutenant General Serhiy Naiev receives a dozen pick-up trucks equipped with heavy machine guns and anti-aircraft cannons, a crowd-funded project to assist Ukraine in repelling the Iranian-made Shahed drones that have caused so much damage to Ukraine's electrical infrastructure.

The next phase of this fight, though, will include tanks, according to Naiev, a stocky and personable commander. This includes not just his current Leopard 2s and Challengers, but also his modern Challengers and Leopard 2s. Not just to maintain their current locations, but also to engage the enemy in the next months, Ukrainian authorities estimate they need several hundred main battle tanks.

Of course, we need a large number of Western tanks. They are much better than the Soviet models and can help us advance. We are creating new military units. And our next actions will depend on their combat readiness. Therefore, Western assistance is extremely important.

- Naiev, Commander

COPYRIGHT_SZ: Published on https://stationzilla.com/ukrainian-officials-struggle-to-train-military-with-new-western-weapons/ by Suleman Shah on 2023-01-23T02:27:57.986Z

Leopard 2

Their top choice, the Leopard 2, is in service with numerous NATO countries and is known for its low maintenance and operating costs. The Ukrainian military and government expected Germany would approve the delivery during Friday's meeting of Ukraine's partners in Ramstein, but Germany ultimately did not.

Minister of Defense for Ukraine Oleksii Reznikov stated after the meeting that he and his German colleague Boris Pistorius had a candid talk about Leopard 2s... to be continued.

We are disappointed. We understand that some countries have inhibitions. But the slower this goes the more of our soldiers and civilians are killed.

- Mykhailo Podolyak, Adviser to Ukraine’s Presidential Administration

It would be significant if Germany took a leadership position here.

- Mykhailo Podolyak, Adviser to Ukraine’s Presidential Administration

He claims that 300–400 of these tanks might defeat 2,000–3,000 Soviet tanks. As a result, the pace of the conflict would go up considerably, ushering in the last phases. Meanwhile, Ukrainian authorities claim they are running short of replacement components for their aging Soviet-era tanks despite searching other former Soviet bloc governments for supply.

The Ukrainians are worried that another Russian onslaught might start within the next two months. Roughly 150,000 Russians who were conscripted last fall will have completed training and been integrated into combat-ready battalions by the spring.

The Ukrainians are under a desperate time crunch. However, they are rapidly transitioning from a force equipped with Soviet-era weaponry to one with cutting-edge Western armaments.

Those powerful but high-maintenance M1 Abrams main combat tanks won't be going their way. The chief policy advisor of the Pentagon, Colin Kahl, has called the M1 "expensive. It's not ideal for workouts. A jet propulsion system powers it.

Leopard 2 is a modern, well-protected main battle tank with good sensors. It was originally designed to be maintained by conscripts and is therefore simpler to keep in the fight than some other NATO designs like the Challenger 2. There is also an existing production line to keep Leopard 2s supplied with spare parts.

- Jack Watling, Land Warfare at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI)

Military Assistance Packages For Ukraine

Even though the United States has recently provided Ukraine with military aid worth billions of dollars—including Western-made armored vehicles and air-defense systems—this has not stopped the United States from seeking to sell Russian-made weaponry to the Ukrainian military.

U.S. military officials believe this presents a chance to convince some of those nations to abandon their reliance on Russian weapons and systems.

Russian-made weapon systems are already in operation in Central and South America, and they could be deployed by the Ukrainian military very immediately. There are large caches of Russian and former Soviet-made weaponry in certain nations.

Some of the greatest examples include Peru, Mexico, Ecuador, Colombia, and Argentina. Multiple hundred Russian Igla portable surface-to-air missiles are in use by Brazil and Ecuador. Man-portable air-defense systems (MANPADS) produced in Russia are also widely accessible.

However, several of these nations, most notably Mexico, have previously refused to transfer arms to Ukraine. There ought to be the right incentives offered by the United States for these nations to hand up their weapons.

With a Russian offensive looming, Ukrainian officials battle to train military up with new Western

Ukraine Wants Rapid Delivery Of Modern Tanks

Additional weaponry continues to trickle in, including American Stryker tanks and Bradley infantry combat vehicles, Finnish howitzers, the Swedish ARCHER artillery system, and modern Swedish anti-tank guns. The new equipment must be trained on and integrated into the Ukrainian military's current formations.

According to some high-ranking Ukrainian officials, their country seeks to take the initiative before Russian reinforcements can strengthen their lines and battalion tactical units. Since the Ukrainian gains in Kharkiv and Kherson in the fall, the front lines have hardly budged all the way from the Russian border in the northeast to the Black Sea.

Podolyak predicted that the battle might be contained with the swift deployment of new tanks. It would be contained to the seized regions and resolved by tank combat.

Podolyak has said that Ukraine needs not just longer-range missiles but also tanks to swiftly remove seized territories. He believes the Russians will send in a large number of more soldiers and a large quantity of obsolete Soviet-era equipment—essentially all they have at this point, by our calculations.

Russia seems to be moving ammo depots and troop concentrations away from the front lines in an effort to make them less vulnerable to U.S. HIMARS systems, which Ukraine has successfully deployed against similar targets in the past.

Final Words

As a precaution against a possible Russian attack later this year, the United States and its allies are transferring billions of dollars worth of armaments to Ukraine, including armored vehicles, improved air defenses, and more.

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About The Authors

Suleman Shah

Suleman Shah

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