PANAGYURISHTE ($1=2.03 Bulgarian Levs) — The largest supplier of tanks and armored vehicles to Ukraine at the moment is not the Western partners, but Russia.
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This is what the facts say, and they are as follows:
- Ukraine’s Western partners, including the USA, have not yet decided whether, when, and what tanks they will send to help the Ukrainian army;
- Poland, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic donated their obsolete Soviet T-72 and T-80 tanks. Now the three former Eastern Bloc countries expect to be reciprocally supplied with tanks from Germany, most likely Leopard tanks;
- Spain intended to donate its Leopard 2A4 tanks but failed in its intentions. The problem was this: the tanks had not been maintained over the years. A Ukrainian representative from the Ministry of Defense personally refused to allow the tanks to be repaired and sent to Ukraine. This speaks volumes for their condition.
- From the beginning of the war to this day, we have witnessed both many destroyed tanks of the Russian army and many abandoned tanks. T64s, T-72s, and T-80s are abandoned by Russian forces, and recently Ukrainian forces captured an intact T-90M Breakout tank;
- There are reports that at least 200 Russian tanks, armored personnel carriers, and infantry fighting vehicles from the inventory of the Russian army have been abandoned very recently as a result of the Ukrainian counteroffensive;
- Sources, mostly foreign intelligence analysts [UK and USA] claim that at the moment Ukraine can equip two full tank brigades only from the abandoned Russian tanks on the battlefield. By Western standards, a tank division is composed of 160 tank units. Two tank divisions mean at least 360 tanks – a number that can be taken as credible if we draw conclusions from what Ukraine has acquired so far [according to our experts, the figure can be lowered to 250 tanks].
- Open access sources claim that since the start of the war, Russia has lost around 6,300 Russian military vehicles and weapon systems. This includes any type of armored fighting vehicle, infantry vehicle, or artillery system.
- The Institute for the Study of War claims that despite the “successful capture” of Russian equipment, Ukrainian forces destroyed many more tanks and armored vehicles in the September 18 counteroffensive in the Kharkiv region.
It turns out that while Ukraine is waiting for heavy tank support from the west, Russia is abandoning weapons that the Ukrainians know very well, can work with, and are trained to use. Russia is fighting against its own weapons, not because it sold them years ago to its neighbor, but because it allowed Ukraine to “steal” them.
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