According to a military expert from Switzerland, Russia has overcome a phase of weakness in the war against Ukraine. "We are heading towards a situation in which battle tanks play an important role in terms of defense and counter-offensives," says Niklas Masuhr, a researcher at the Center for Security Studies at the ETH University in Zurich, the German Press Agency. Since the fall, Russia has improved its position, for example by building defensive lines.
Retrofitting Ukrainian tanks is made more difficult because Russia has destroyed many factories and production lines for tank ammunition, for example. The NATO states have already made their old reserves available. Accordingly, western main battle tanks such as the German-made Leopard or the Abrams from the USA now came into focus. According to information from coalition circles on Tuesday evening, after weeks of back and forth, the federal government approved the delivery of Leopard tanks.
Beware of a logistical nightmare
With a minimum of 100 western tanks, Ukraine could equip a western-style tank brigade, Masuhr said. "But main battle tanks are not a miracle weapon. They have to be used and repaired in combination and equipped with ammunition." The expert also pointed to a logistical nightmare for Ukraine if deliveries are not well coordinated. Even different versions of the same type meant additional challenges.
"If Ukraine is to be able to defend itself in the longer term, it is important that the logistics system is not overly complicated," said Masuhr. It would probably be particularly helpful for Ukraine if components of Western tanks were partly serviced and repaired beyond the borders - as is already the case with artillery pieces.
Regarding the course of the war, the military expert said: "Ukraine has carried out its previous counter-offensives in Russian phases of weakness, especially in the fall. Since then, however, Russia has consolidated and has a steady hand at command level." Ukraine can also not rely on the fact that "Russian shortcomings from the first year will necessarily be repeated". The war has been going on since February last year.