THE LEOPARDS THAT WILL TEAR RUSSIA APART (25 01 2023)
Political strategic level
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz announces that he and his allies will hand over Leopard battle tanks to Ukraine. Germany is reportedly planning to support Poland's request to send a company of tanks to Ukraine today. A total of 12 members of the Ramstein Alliance, including Poland, Finland, Denmark, the Netherlands and Spain, have agreed to hand over around 100 German tanks.
It is reported that the US could announce the transfer of a "large number" of Abrams tanks as early as this week, despite warnings from the Pentagon that the operation of these vehicles would be problematic in a Russian-Ukrainian war. Sources report that the Biden administration is willing to send "a significant number" of tanks to Ukraine, with 30-50 Abrams tanks being considered.
The partners may be preparing tanks for transfer and Germany will make a decision soon, NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg said after a meeting with German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius. Stoltenberg advises all countries with Leopards to prepare them for possible transfer to Ukraine and to start training the Ukrainian army.
Commenting on the supply of tanks to Ukraine, German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius stated that "there is no new information on Leopard tanks, the situation has not changed. "We are working on a decision which will be announced shortly. As I noted in Ramstein, I support our partners if they want to start training the Ukrainian army with these Leopard tanks. We are not stopping anyone. But, as I said, we are working on our decision."
Finland, on the other hand, is proposing to the European allies to create a powerful unit with Leopard tanks in Ukraine.
Western and US officials are reportedly advising Ukraine to focus on planning a possible offensive in the south instead of the gruelling fighting at Bakhmut. Allies are advising Ukraine to adopt a different style of fighting that would allow it to take advantage of the billions of dollars in new military equipment. In the fierce battle for Bakhmut, several thousand artillery shells are fired by both sides every day in a battle for a few hundred metres.
As we understand it, this is a cautious call from the West for a more rational use of equipment and combat means costing billions of dollars and euros. A new Leopard 2 costs around €14 million, the old one around €5 million.
Dmytro Kuleba, the Ukrainian Foreign Minister, stated that "as far as tanks are concerned, the last half-step remains. We have already received the British Challengers, which they said were impossible. In the meantime, we are already getting French light tanks. We have heard that France is considering providing Leclerc tanks. I have no doubt that the Leopard will come to us, we are in the final stages.
Meanwhile, Professor Phillip Karber, an active lobbyist for Ukraine in the West since 2014, and an expert on US defence, military strategy, nuclear weapons and national security, criticised Kyiv itself for the production and supply of weapons.
Asked why Ukraine is given only enough weapons to defend itself without going on the offensive, Karber said: "Yes, you need a lot more weapons. You get them in small batches. For example, you got 15 French tanks. Soon you may get eight British Challengers. You will also get 50 American Bradleys. You can use whatever they give you. However, it seems to me that your Foreign Minister, Dmitry Kuleba, made a big mistake a few months ago when he started to criticise the West for not giving enough support."
The US expert stated that Ukraine itself could have done much more by building up its own armed forces and not selling its tanks to "third world countries for profit". "Even seven years after the start of this war, you have continued to do so. You have produced long-range missiles. Yet you have only built four of them. And now you say that we are not giving you enough. But it is you who have done nothing to have everything. You should be ashamed. <...> For example, your Kharkiv tank factory is one of the best in the world. Your designers took a T-72 tank, which had a very fragile turret, fitted it with a German gun and put a place behind the turret to store ammunition. And they turned it into a great tank, perfect for your terrain. In my opinion, that would have been great not only for you, but also, for example, for the Baltic countries. But you didn't start producing it, it was just a prototype. Carbery also criticises Ukraine because six months before the invasion "all the signs of the coming war were obvious", but nothing was done.
Yes. Nothing was done, and not only in Ukraine. Nothing was being done anywhere. That is why Zhirinovsky, in his speech to the Russian Duma before the invasion, wished everyone good luck, stressing that Russia would have no better chance than it has now.
We have to recognise this and, once we have stopped blaming each other, come down to earth. The West is not yet giving Ukraine the weapons it needs to "win" because it simply does not have them now.
Former Russian President and current alcoholic Dmitry Medvedev denied that Russia is short of weapons and, under the influence of "flour" or vodka, declared that Moscow has "enough of everything".
D. Medvedev visited the Kalashnikov factory in Izhevsk, 1 000 km from Moscow, inspected sub-machine guns, artillery shells, missiles and drones, and after counting them, he became intoxicated and decided that he had enough weapons.
Meanwhile, the world's No 1 terrorist, Putin, has declared that Russia is short of some medicines. Despite the fact that Putler lies that Russia produces 60% of its medicines, it is clear that the Russians are short of the most important anti-cancer and other complex medical preparations.
There is no lying here, as they say. Although, in a country of liars, you can sell sugar pills as a cure for tuberculosis. The people will buy, eat and believe.
Putler's wiper, Margarita Simonyan, has said, to the chagrin of all Western haters, that Russia cannot, with the best of intentions, refuse Western Internet channels and other technologies. Because all the means by which the Kremlin communicates, films and broadcasts are Western. If the Russians were to refuse modern technology, they would be thrown back to the days before push-button telephones.
Although the Kremlin mouthpiece believes that Russia should have and must have developed high technology, we at Simonyan must be very disappointed. Russia is capable of drinking, killing, destroying and waging war. Creating is something Russia has not been historically given. The majority of the many are balalaikas.
In Poland, there is no end to the scandal following the words of former Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski about the alleged thoughts of the Polish authorities on the 'partition of Ukraine'. "I think that during the first ten days of the war, when we all did not see how things were going to turn out, there were doubts that maybe Ukraine would fall apart. If not for the heroism of Zelensky and the help of the West, it could have been different," Sikorski said.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki called on the opposition to distance itself from former foreign minister Radoslaw Sikorski's words and immediately called for a retraction of the "shameful words". "Don't measure people by your own standards. It was your policy to restore relations with the Russian Federation. It was your government that met Putin in Moscow. It should be noted that Russian propaganda constantly raises the subject of Poland's alleged territorial claims against Ukraine', the Polish Prime Minister fumed.
Yes, today talk of any reservations and an agreement with Moscow is considered treason. Politicians are afraid of any louder word about concessions or negotiations with Moscow. But do we have any real plan, apart from the slogans of 'until victory'? The only plan is war with the Russians at the expense of Ukrainian deaths. We have no doubt that, after some time, as we get even more 'drunk', there will be talk of various compromises with Moscow, perhaps even seeking accelerated Ukrainian membership of NATO and the EU in return for territorial losses.
Our plan would be different: to open a second front or to clamp down on the Maoists' military actions in Ukraine as soon as possible, while protecting Western citizens and objects with Western peacekeeping forces.
No major changes.
For many European citizens, the reduction in Russian nuclear rhetoric has led to a calmer life. And the Lithuanian media is less likely to talk about the war. But this is only a semblance of relative calm.
The Kremlin has deliberately "gifted" this relative calm in an effort to move and annoy Westerners and their leaders who are so sensitive to the "nuclear threat" and who stay awake at night.
Meanwhile, Ukraine is being grasped with bloody teeth.
The Kremlin's logic is simple: why create confusion and unnecessary attention and confrontation when it does not produce any tangible results on the battlefield? That is why the Kremlin strategists are now quietly concentrating on the situation on the ground and slowly pushing forward. Russia needs to occupy the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in the short term, which will mean the realisation of the 'minimum' plan.
The storming of Kyiv will follow.
The political bloc of the Putin administration has reportedly started preparations for 'elections' to the 'regional parliaments' and 'municipal councils' of the occupied Ukrainian territories. The Kremlin reportedly hopes that such local "elections" will be possible in September 2023.
The Kremlin's stooges do not consider scenarios in which a "vote" would be impossible if Ukrainian troops liberate all occupied territories by September.
Over the past day, the occupiers have fired 4 rockets into Ukrainian territory, launched 26 air strikes, and fired about 100 salvoes of rockets.
The Drisks continue to surround Bakhmut, attacking in the direction of Avdiivka and Liman.
In Zaporizhzhya, Kupyansk, Kherson the Russians are defending themselves.
Russia is recruiting imprisoned Ukrainian citizens who have been forcibly taken to Russian prisons. In Krasnodar, there is active recruitment of such persons into the Wagner military unit. Most of the Ukrainian prisoners are unhappy about being taken to Russia and about Russia's disrespectful attitude towards them. They are therefore given the opportunity to go to war against their homeland.
Ukrainian military aviation conducted 8 strikes against the occupier's concentrations and 3 strikes against anti-aircraft missile complexes.
The Defence Forces destroyed an SU-25, 3 KA-52 helicopters, 3 Orlan and 1 Lancet UAVs and one Merlin aircraft.
Ukrainian artillery and rocket units hit an enemy checkpoint and 9 occupation hotspots.
The issue of tanks, which has caused so much passion, justified and unfounded accusations, is slowly moving forward. However, before we raise a glass of victory or want to blame anyone for the alleged delay in handing over the tanks, we must, as we say, get down to earth. On the ground, the situation is such that Germany itself has just over 200 Leopards ready for action. The other countries that have acquired these German tanks do not have them by the thousands. Finland itself has just over 200 Leopards, Poland about 250. It goes without saying, therefore, that Germany and other countries cannot give all their tanks to Ukraine, because they will lose their own military capabilities.
It is good that at least now there is an agreement that these tanks will reach Ukraine at some point. However, a tank is not everything. We must all realise that the tank itself is a target on the battlefield and a very expensive piece of metal. A tank is only effective when it interacts in battle with artillery, air force, reconnaissance and infantry. So the German Leopard 2 crews need to be prepared and the Ukrainian force needs to be equipped to operate in a combat synergy. This takes time.
Meanwhile, Russia alone had about 2000 T-72 tanks before the war and about 8000 in reserve, not to mention other armoured vehicles. Let them be just boxes, and if half a thousand have already been destroyed in the war, the reserve is sufficient. No European country has as many tanks as Russia has. And even if the European countries were to give Ukraine all their armoured vehicles, they would hardly catch up with Russia in terms of numbers. That is why quality and efficiency are a priority. One Western tank, in conjunction with other capabilities, against five Russian ironclads.
The supply of heavy equipment to Ukraine is a long process and an extremely complex task for the West, which needs to organise not only the transport of the equipment, but also the entire logistics scheme, including the repair of the equipment. Meanwhile, if the Kremlin decides that it needs to move the tanks from A to B, it can do it in a week.
Without any doubt, the statements about sending Western modern tanks are a very important step by the West, which makes it clear to Moscow that the great battle for Ukraine is only just beginning.
At the same time, it dispels the illusion that the West has 'any' weapons that it can supply in unlimited quantities 'until victory'. And it is full to the brim. There are currently no "as many as necessary" weapons. Everything has very clear limits.
Anyone planning a large-scale production or a very large project is well aware that it takes time to achieve a big goal. The leopards or Abrams or other weapons needed for victory will not fall from the sky. They, or rather the quantity needed for "victory", must be produced. First you need the money to do it - i.e. a budget for it - then you need to start production, and only after some time will the realisation begin. The US has allocated a huge amount of money for defence - around €800 billion. The military-industrial machine will only get going this year. Military ammunition and weapons will be available in the second half of this year at best. In other NATO countries, the 2% needed for defence is still not available.
It is clear that a new arms race is beginning, in which the West is already involved against its will. The pace of the NATO allies' defence buildup will start to pick up in 2024 and we will see the results in 2025. In demanding US support for Ukraine, we will not forget that Washington is a bigger threat than Russia and must be prepared for Beijing's surprises.
The war will be hard and long.
Photo: Occupiers shelling Kupyansk.
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