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UK Defence Secretary explains delays in forming tank battalions for Ukraine

Saturday, 18 February 2023, 12:11

UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said that only after making a political decision on the supply of tanks to Ukraine, many countries learned about the real state of affairs with their equipment.

Source: Ben Wallace in an interview with Spiegel, as European Pravda reports.

"There is certainly a political solution. But many countries find that their armies don't have operational tanks to supply. Politicians sent their military to warehouses and found that their tanks were not ready or repaired for delivery to Ukraine. Or that it will take a certain amount of time to repair the guns or power plant. You know these problems with operational readiness in the Bundeswehr. In other countries, the situation is no different," he explained.


Earlier, German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius noted that the Western allies will be difficult to assemble two full battalions of Leopard 2 tanks, to send them to Ukraine as promised.

According to Wallace, NATO countries have regretfully realised that their armies have significantly weakened over the past 30 years.

"There are figures on how many tanks each country has. But there is a reality that tells us that very few of them are serviceable. We did not even take 14 Challenger tanks for Ukraine from the warehouses where they were stored, they were removed from combat duty. In the end, politics made a decision. But then came the reality check. This is exactly where we are now," the minister said.


At the same time, according to him, this applies not only to tanks, but also to ammunition and other equipment.

However, Wallace assured the press that the tanks will arrive in Ukraine, even if it takes longer.

"We need to give other partners a little more time. The switch has been switched, and this is important at the moment. One of the reasons is the military significance of the decision on tanks for the course of the war. We need to be honest about this. Tanks are not a miracle weapon for immediate victory in a war. Of course, they are clearly more effective than Russian tanks. But beyond that, the green light for Challenger or Leopard was an extremely important sign for Ukraine," he said.

"Thanks to modern tanks, we enable Ukraine to better position itself militarily and get closer to NATO standards for waging war. To do this, we, Germans, Americans or Poles, are now training Ukrainian soldiers. In the short term, this will not change the course of the war. But in the medium term, this is extremely important," the minister explained.

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