With the belief that it can change the course of the conflict, Ukraine is earnestly asking its Western allies to aid the German-made Leopard 2 main battle tank with powerful offensive capabilities.
What is a Leopard 2 tank?
Leopard 2 is a German-made main battle tank with a range of about 500km. This weapon was first put into use in 1979 and has a top speed of 68km/h. In addition to the 120mm smoothbore gun as the main weapon, the Leopard 2 is also equipped with two coaxial light machine guns.
Not only in service in the German army, Leopard 2 is also widely used in Europe. Tanks have been deployed in Kosovo, Bosnia, Afghanistan and Syria (by Turkey), where some tanks have failed to anti-tank missiles.
Why does Ukraine want Leopard 2?
Ukraine says it has an urgent need for more powerful armor in its conflict with Russia. Kiev has a limited number of tanks, mostly from the Soviet or post-Soviet era.
Ukraine recently believed that Moscow was about to launch a major new offensive in the coming months. Kiev and many of its allies believe that the conflict will end faster if Russia is defeated in Ukraine’s own counterattacks. Although Ukraine has made important strides, in the battle in Kiev as well as in the Kharkov province and around the southern Kherson region, its army is still plagued by a shortage of tanks while the Russian forces increase. increased maneuvering of modern T-90s with more features.
The large availability of Leopard tanks, including in neighboring Poland, which also wants to supply the tanks to Ukraine, makes them suitable for Kiev. Ukraine says it needs 300 tanks, while Western analysts estimate that just 100 could change the course of the conflict.
The reason why Ukraine has not received aid Leopard 2
Because the tank was supplied to countries under an export license, Germany could veto re-export. Poland on January 19 proposed that it could bypass Germany and export its Leopard. Although Germany has supplied a large amount of equipment to Ukraine, including armored vehicles, it prefers a multilateral approach to Kiev aid rather than being seen as acting unilaterally.
Moreover, Berlin is concerned that the transfer of main battle tanks to Ukraine will be considered an escalation of tensions because this is a heavy weapon with very strong offensive capabilities.
Germany has tried to push the supply of Leopard to a larger coalition, which will most likely aid other tanks, including the American Abrams. However, according to experts, the Abrams tank is less suitable for the war in Ukraine because of its high fuel consumption. American officials also explained that they have not been able to supply the Abrams tank to Kiev because the tank is difficult to maintain and requires operational training.
Why is there a country that does not want to give Leopard 2 aid to Ukraine?
Opponents believe that supplying Leopard 2 tanks means NATO countries are increasingly intervening in the conflict, thereby increasing the risk of conflict spreading. Ukraine says it will only use tanks within internationally recognized borders.
On the Russian side, the Kremlin warned that Western aid to the tank would only lead to negative consequences for Ukraine, while not changing the military situation.