The first group of Ukrainian soldiers trained to operate Leopard tanks in Germany is preparing to return to the battlefield in the hope that this weapon can help their army turn the tide of conflict with Russia.
On March 13, a few days before returning home, Ukrainian soldiers were trained to shoot 120mm rounds with Leopard tanks at a shooting range in Germany. The German-aided tank is expected by Ukraine to be a “game-changing weapon”, helping the country’s military achieve a breakthrough in the conflict with Russia.
On a hill overlooking the Bergen training ground in northern Germany, Vice Admiral Herve Blejean, commander of the European Union (EU) training group, told reporters that Ukraine’s military was going through a phase. most dangerous since the conflict broke out. They must defend the front lines as Russia adds 300,000 recruits to the battlefield.
In Bergen, the German coaches were pleased with the Ukrainian soldiers’ exercise during the six-week accelerated course. “They hit more than 80% of the target. It’s an unexpected result after such a short time,” said one of the coaches named Joerg.
However, Ukrainian soldiers had to abandon some of their old tactics. Colonel Michael Sack said that the Ukrainian crew initially wanted to turn around, instead of backing the tank. This is because Russian tanks can only retreat slowly, making them vulnerable to enemy fire. However, Leopard can quickly retreat while firing. It can face the enemy thanks to the thicker armored front, said. In addition, Ukrainian soldiers are also trained to fight in the dark to take advantage of Leopard’s night vision device.
“When they can use better tanks like the Leopard, they will be able to break through and consider counterattacks,” Blejean said. He believes that German tanks will be an important element in Kyiv’s spring offensive plan.
One Ukrainian soldier commented: “The Leopard tank will help us make the breakthrough we need. Other Ukrainian combat units will also feel safer when they fight alongside Leopard.”
In January, Germany and a number of European countries agreed to supply Ukraine with Leopard 2 tanks, considered one of the best weapons in the Western arsenal despite concerns about the process. transport. Kyiv says it needs heavy battle tanks to stop the Russian advance and prepare for a spring counterattack.
Last week, German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius announced that all 18 modern Leopard 2 A6 tanks to which Berlin had pledged aid would arrive in Ukraine before the end of March.
While many expect the Leopard 2 tank to be able to make a breakthrough, turning the battlefield in favor of Ukraine, others are cautious. They believe that the number of Western tanks that aid Ukraine is too small compared to actual needs, moreover, these tanks cannot be delivered at the same time. For example, Kiev will receive US-made M1 Abrams tanks at the earliest at the end of this year.