So far Ukraine has fought a defensive battle trying to hold ground against the Russian assault it has been very successful in doing that and now the time has come to retake that lost ground and you just can’t do that with infantry operating unit on foot or an unprotected vehicle and you need the shock effect and impact with only a battle tank can provide supported by infantry fighting vehicles.
That’s why Ukraine is so Keen to obtain them obviously Germany is very reluctant to trigger any kind of escalation and that’s obviously a key factor in their decision to not send tanks so far but let’s be clear I mean Germany has sent a huge amount of other equipment and it lags only behind America.
The United Kingdom in that regard it’s provided the Gephardt anti-aircraft system the Panzer how it’s a 2000 dingo personnel carrier and now it’s providing mud so a huge amount of material has already been sent and is being sent by Germany but tanks of a sticking point because of the escalation and Germany doesn’t want to lead this initiative it wants to follow.
Really when you think about its history and it’s designed not again to become a militaristic state you can kind of sort of understand this approach in the meantime the UK we know has promised to send 14 of their Challenger tanks.
How do these measure up to the leopard tanks well both leopard and Challenger are third-generation main battle tanks they were developed in the early 1980s and fielded at the height of the Cold War, unfortunately, Challenger has not been upgraded whereas leopard has so leopard today is probably quantifiably better than Challenger however both tanks are considerably better?
But anything Russia has fielded in Ukraine earlier this week Canada made its own announcement about providing Ukraine with Senator armored personnel carriers from your perspective how will they help Ukraine’s military right now well another useful addition but the problem that Ukraine has is with so many different countries donating different vehicle types.
Other equipment types we’re creating a massive logistical headache for the Ukrainians how do you manage these micro fleets very hard.
So while they will contribute to the war effort on the ground looking after we speak sustaining them supporting them would be very challenging we’re now almost a year into this war and you have talked about what you expect will be a spring offensive by Russia when it comes to the need for these leopard tanks.
The call for those tanks helps us understand what it means in terms of timing so there are two schools of thought here one is that Russia is already fully depleted and has spent force and really can’t do anything else so the time has come to mount an offensive to retake lost territory and to kick them out of Ukraine completely.
But another school of thought suggests that we need to be more prudent and in fact that there is evidence to suggest that the Russians are planning a new offensive for the spring when the ground becomes firmer and we know that they’re trying to recruit a further 300 000 conscripts.
But also they have other tank reserves and artillery reserves which they may bring out of deep storage so we need to be very mindful of what they might do we need our intelligence as its needs to follow that on the ground and because if you know if Ukraine does attack it will need this three to one advantage in order to Triumph and the risk is that it depletes its own resources only then to be on the receiving end of a Russian counter-attack which it cannot push back.
So the Judgment here has to be very fine so it will rely on NATO intelligence to inform it of what’s going on and then to make the right call in terms of when it counter-attacks you’ve helped explain why Germany is hesitant to okay the sending of the leper tanks do you think the U.S might decide to lead the way sending its own Abrams Tanks as a way of getting the German on board.
I think it’s more likely that the UK would send more of its challenges I mean in my own view I think if we sent 50 to 100 challenges to Ukraine that would be a much better solution and that would encourage the Germans to do likewise and they wouldn’t be seen to be leading that, of course.
The issue here is that there was only a limited quality quantity of challenges but an enormous quantity of leopards that could potentially be sent and that’s why that fear of the Germans triggered escalation.