Russian President’s Provocative Statement: Western Tanks ‘Easy Prey’ for Soviet T-72

When questioned about the presence of Western weapons in the conflict in Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin provided intriguing remarks.

On July 13, Russian President Vladimir Putin made a surprising announcement, stating that Russian forces had successfully destroyed 311 Ukrainian tanks since June 4. What caught attention was that one-third of these tanks were Western-made. Putin specifically highlighted that the Western tanks ignited in a particularly spectacular manner, even more so than the Soviet T-72s, which often led to Ukrainian crews refusing to operate them.

Furthermore, later that same night, the Russian armed forces carried out a precise strike on the ammunition depots of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. This strategic move is seen by analysts as a significant blow to Ukraine’s offensive capabilities, both in terms of their forward positions and cities in the Donbass region. The attack on these depots has substantially diminished Ukraine’s ability to engage in offensive operations against Russian forces.

In his remarks, President Putin addressed Ukraine’s supply of long-range missiles, stating that while they can cause damage, they do not alter the situation on the battlefield. He emphasized that the introduction of these weapons and foreign-made tanks and infantry fighting vehicles would only escalate the conflict and worsen the situation in Ukraine.

The fate of the 100 Western tanks delivered to Ukraine remains uncertain. However, since the beginning of the Ukrainian counter-offensive in early June, some of the equipment provided by Western countries has been observed destroyed based on battlefield images.

Aside from the Leopard tank, President Putin’s statement likely includes reference to the AMX-10 tank, which France has provided to Ukraine. Various Eastern and Western media outlets have reported on Ukrainian soldiers involved in the conflict, who claim that the French armored vehicles have impressive firepower but lack adequate armor protection. According to the Ukrainian side, the AMX-10 has thin armor that is easily penetrated.

Furthermore, Ukraine has utilized the US-made Bradley infantry fighting vehicle in its counterattack, but these vehicles have also fallen victim to anti-tank missiles, Russian minefields, and air raids conducted by Ka-52 attack helicopters.

Ukraine has received three prominent Western tanks to aid in their efforts to reclaim lost territories. These include the German Leopard, the British Challenger 2, and the American Abrams 1M. Currently, there is evidence confirming the involvement of the German Leopard tank in combat operations.

While there are claims of the British Challenger 2 being present in Ukraine, there is no definitive confirmation that this tank has actually seen combat. However, it is expected that the American Abrams tanks will arrive in Ukraine during the upcoming fall or winter and could potentially enter combat in the first half of 2024.

Amid the ongoing intense battles in Ukraine, there was a disagreement between Germany and Poland regarding the construction of a repair center in Poland to service damaged Western armored fighting vehicles, particularly Leopard tanks. The disagreement arose due to Poland’s requirement of higher repair costs than initially requested. As a result, Germany will transport damaged Ukrainian tanks to Germany for repairs, requiring a longer distance of 600 km instead of a 100 km trip to the repair center in Poland.

In addition, President Putin expressed his concerns about the possibility of Ukraine joining NATO, emphasizing the significant risk it would pose to Russia’s security. He believes that Ukraine’s membership in the alliance would not enhance Ukraine’s security and could instead increase global vulnerability and international tensions. Thus, Putin sees no positive aspects in such a scenario.

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