President Zelensky said that Ukraine needs 300-500 tanks for the counter-offensive, noting that many aid weapons have not been delivered to Kiev.
“We need about 300-500 tanks. I believe Ukraine needs many tanks to carry out a counter-offensive on its territory. We need armored vehicles to protect soldiers,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said. in the interview received channel Sky News of the UK announced on January 27.
Zelensky thanked the US and Europe for their commitment to support the M1A2 Abrams and Leopard 2 main battle tanks for Ukraine, but emphasized that Kiev does not have much time to wait because Moscow has a large number of tanks. excel on the battlefield.
“I can say frankly that the number of tanks and the time of delivery are much more important than the decision on aid. Many weapons supply packages to Ukraine have been approved, but we have not received them yet. It is true. It makes no sense when some countries claim to aid in tanks and support Ukraine, but only commit to deliver 5. What are we going to do with them? That’s not enough for one unit,” he said.
Pentagon deputy spokeswoman Sabrina Singh said on January 26 that the process of supplying M1A2 tanks to Ukraine will take many months, because the US stockpile does not have a surplus of this weapon. The unnamed US official said that the M1A2s shipped to Ukraine will be equipped with armor according to configurations for foreign customers, because Washington still prohibits the export of Abrams tanks with depleted uranium (DU) armor.
“Sometimes the delivery of weapons will take months. I am not criticizing anyone, but I must say that the feeling of peace of mind appears only after Ukrainian soldiers start operating weapons that are aided by partners,” the president said. Zelensky said.
The US has only one Abrams tank assembly line at the General Dynamics plant in Ohio. This corporation has long ceased to build new M1 tanks, but uses existing body frames in stock. They will be shipped when an order is placed and the manufacturer will install the equipment in accordance with the configuration proposed by the customer.
The General Dynamics plant is capable of producing 12 M1s per month, but the line is running at full capacity to supply more than 300 Abrams tanks to Poland and the island of Taiwan. This will make the process of preparing tanks for Ukraine take longer.
Vu Anh (Theo Sky News)