Western allies to deliver 321 tanks to Ukraine: top diplomat


Western countries will deliver 321 tanks to Ukraine, according to Ukraine’s ambassador to France.

“As of today, many countries have officially confirmed their agreement to deliver 321 heavy tanks to Ukraine,” Vadym Omelchenko said in an interview with French TV channel and CNN affiliate TV BFM on Friday.

He did not specify which countries would supply the tanks or provide a breakdown of which models.

Omelchenko’s figure comes after the United States pledged 31 Abrams M1 tanks this week and Germany agreed to send 14 Leopard 2 A6s. Earlier, the UK pledged 14 Challenger 2 tanks, while Poland sought Germany’s approval to transfer some of its own German-made Leopard 2s to Ukraine.

Echoing the words of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who urged the West to provide what some experts consider revolutionary military hardware, Omelchenko said Ukraine needed help “as soon as possible”.

“If you had to wait until August or September, it would be too late,” he said.

Delivery dates will vary depending on the type of tank and country of origin, the ambassador said, and the schedule will be adjusted during upcoming consultations between Ukraine and Western countries, he said.

Ukrainian forces have warned that they are in a race against time. The country fears a second Russian offensive could begin within two months and is preparing for the coming weeks.

Previous military aid, such as the US HIMARS rocket system, has been vital in helping Ukraine disrupt Russian advances and carry out a series of successful counter-offensives in recent months.

But tanks represent the strongest direct offensive weapon supplied to Ukraine so far, military experts said.

This week, several Western countries led by Germany and the United States said they would send tank contingents to Ukraine.

US President Joe Biden said he would provide 31 M1 Abrams tanks to “enhance Ukraine’s ability to defend its territory and achieve its strategic objectives” in the short and long term.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in parliament said on Wednesday his government would send 14 Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, concluding months of deliberations and days of tense negotiations with NATO partners.

“This is the result of intensive consultations that have taken place with Germany’s closest European and international partners,” read a statement from the German government.

Ukraine hopes Berlin’s announcement will encourage other European nations that have Leopards to re-export some of their vehicles.

A German Armed Forces Bundeswehr Leopard 2 A7 main battle tank rolls through the mud in an informative educational practice

Hear what the Kremlin threatens after the Germans announce tanks

Poland formally requested Germany’s approval on Tuesday to transfer some of its German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine.

Military experts have previously told CNN the extra tanks could make a difference in the war. But some analysts said the new tanks would not be an instant game-changer as some would expect.


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