Tags: ukraine | tanks | poland | finland | kyiv | emmanuel macron | volodymyr zelenskyy

Poland, Finland Back Sending Leopard 2 Tanks to Ukraine

Volodymyr Zelenskyy gestures while speaking
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy (Getty Images)

By    |   Saturday, 07 January 2023 06:31 PM EST

Poland has joined with Finland in saying it is ready to send Leopard tanks to Ukraine to use in its fight against Russia.
Saturday, Poland's Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said he would be able to transfer the Leopard 2 tanks into Ukraine, should a larger Leopard coalition be formed, reports The Telegraph, quoting the Visegrad24 news channel.
Western allies have rejected the tanks up until now on fears that supplying them would escalate the war, but that appears to be changing after the arrival of armored weapons from the United States, Germany, and France.
"Poland has been trying for months to ensure that modern, heavy equipment, anti-aircraft, anti-missile equipment is delivered to Ukraine," Morawiecki's office said on Twitter.
Finland said earlier it is ready to supply tanks if Europe starts delivering the vehicles "even an inch more," said IndeAntti Hakkianen, chairman of Finland's defense committee,
adding that the "contribution would be small, because our own defense capability is always a priority for us as a border country with Russia," according to the Kyiv Independent.
The tanks weigh around 60 tons and can engage moving targets as they move over rough terrain.

President Emmanuel Macron said Wednesday that Paris would hand over French-built AMX-10 RC light tanks to Ukraine, a step forward from tank deliveries to date from Ukraine's allies which have mostly been Soviet-era leftovers.

"The decision of President @EmmanuelMacron is another step that will bring our victory closer," Ukrainian's defense ministry wrote on Twitter.

"Especially when the AMX-10 RCs are joined by the American and, we believe, German peers".

France's move is "a strong political signal that Western support is continuing, not running out of steam," said Pierre Haroche, lecturer in international security at Queen Mary University in London.

The AMX-10 is a wheeled reconnaissance tank weighing 25 tons and armed with a 105mm cannon, developed during the Cold War "to move quickly and exploit potential breakthroughs" in enemy lines, Haroche said.

"By delivering tanks we're showing that we're backing Ukraine to win, investing in their capability to reconquer territory and not just hold the line."

But the AMX-10 is not in the same weight class as the main battle tanks Kyiv has been pushing allies to provide, such as the French-made Leclerc, German Leopard 2, or US Abrams.

President Joe Biden this week said Washington may send Bradley infantry fighting vehicles, armed with lighter weapons than the big beasts but able to transport troops safely to where they are needed and support them once they arrive.

Meanwhile Germany has been especially hesitant, delivering powerful mobile artillery and air defenses but fearing an escalation with Moscow if its tanks face off directly against their Russian opposite numbers.

Welcoming France's decision on Wednesday, Ukraine's leader Volodymyr Zelenskyy said, "There is no rational reason why Ukraine has not yet been supplied with Western-style tanks."

"The argument from the chancellor's office that Germany must not go it alone is completely obsolete," agreed Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, head of the defense committee in parliament and a leading member of the FDP, a junior coalition partner to Olaf Scholz's SPD.

Ukraine "must win to defend what are also our freedoms and our values – and that can't be done without tank support," she added.

Paris' move "will push other partners to breach the taboo of sending heavy armored vehicles to Ukraine," said Ivan Klyszcz, a researcher at the International Centre for Defence and Security in Estonia.

Many experts see providing Ukraine with modern tanks as a vital building block in its ability to win against Russia.

"In this war in Ukraine, there's a return to tactical blocking of movement with fire superiority, especially with artillery. That explains the heavy attrition rate for armored vehicles and the return to fortified positions, the trenches that have blossomed," said Thibault Fouillet, a researcher at France's Foundation for Strategic Research (FRS).

"Even breakthroughs that seem significant to us, as in the Kharkiv region, only bring tactical advantages – the armies advance just a few tens of kilometers – without making the enemy collapse," he added.

Some experts have questioned how much help the AMX-10 will be to Kyiv given the full range of ex-Soviet heavy armor opposing it.

Modernized Russian tanks like the T-80, T-72 or even the venerable T-62 could make short work of the French vehicles' lighter armor, said Pierre Razoux of the Mediterranean Foundation for Strategic Studies (FMES).

"The light tank can get into position very quickly but if it's hit, it's knocked out," Razoux said.

Sandy Fitzgerald

Sandy Fitzgerald has more than three decades in journalism and serves as a general assignment writer for Newsmax covering news, media, and politics. 

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Poland has joined with Finland in saying it is ready to send Leopard tanks to Ukraine to use in its fight against Russia.
ukraine, tanks, poland, finland, kyiv, emmanuel macron, volodymyr zelenskyy
Saturday, 07 January 2023 06:31 PM
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