The war made by Vladimir Putin He thinks he will win in a matter of days is still poised after nearly a year, with both sides desperately seeking more equipment, soldiers, and international support. But it looks like Russia could soon be dealt a crippling blow — courtesy Ukraine’s friends in the United States and Europe.
Last week, Washington announce A new $3.8 billion arms package for Ukraine included everything from much-needed air defense systems to artillery shells. Most of Ukraine’s excitement, though, has been reserved for the inclusion of the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, an armored vehicle capable of Ukraine has long sought To help restore the captured lands Russia. The decision to finally field the Bradleys indicates that more advanced weapons systems, including tanks, may be on the horizon.
The line for “highly escalatory” systems to send to Ukraine has been constantly moving in Ukraine’s favour, as it is believed that weapons that were highly escalatory at the start of the war are now either on the way or on the table. The United States and other countries have sent artillery into Ukraine throughout the conflict, but non-Soviet tanks and infantry fighting vehicles — IFVs for short — were an unofficial red line until recently.
It is not just the United States that has changed its mind about what is appropriate to send. Over the past few weeks, Germany a promise To send 40 Marder infantry fighting vehicles. German and American IFVs are in different states of modernization, but they would still make a significant difference, with both Russia and Ukraine currently using a mixture of infantry fighting vehicles that include much older equivalents.
The biggest question is the supply of modern American and European tanks. Eastern European countries such as Poland and the Czech Republic delivered hundreds of Soviet-era tanks to Ukraine throughout the war. The Ukrainians made good use of the donated tanks, but constantly demanded more modern tanks made by the United States, Germany and other countries.
Although Europe has been reticent about sending tanks, the tide could turn, with both the German-made Leopard 2 and the British-made Challenger 2 on the table. France has already promised AMX-10RC, which could be compared to a tank destroyer, but fell short on the promise of its main battle tank, the Leclerc.
The Leopard 2 is considered the most viable candidate among Western tanks. Even if Germany itself None of the other European countries send from Spain to Finland, and countries that cannot provide the Panthers can send spare parts.
Although the German government has the authority to restrict owners of German-made tanks from transferring them to Ukraine, the country is now under much stronger pressure to allow other countries to transfer the Panthers.
on January 10, Politico mentioned that France was pressuring Berlin to send tanks, and a day later on the President of Poland announce that some of the Leopard 2s would be sent to Ukraine – without making it clear if Germany would allow this. If Berlin eventually agrees to send the tanks or allow other countries to re-export them, they will likely announce it around the Franco-German summit later this month.
It is reported that the United Kingdom Planning to send tanks, but will be limited in the number they can reasonably send as the size of their tank fleet diminished Over the past few years, the British Army has had little left.
In addition to the new donations, major equipment promised in 2022 is scheduled to arrive in 2023. Most notably, air defense systems. In December, the United States a promise The Patriot missile battery and France have secured export of the SAMP/T, and both are likely to be deployed in the next few months once the crews are trained. Vampire L3, a smallest The system, designed to shoot down drones at a fraction of the cost of more sophisticated systems, is also set to arrive in the coming months.
While Ukraine is looking for more weapons, Russia is looking for more men. Ukraine claims that Russia will try crowd 500,000 reservists to support new offensives against Ukraine in the coming year. If Ukraine is correct, the new troops would add to 300,000 reservists Putin summoned last fall. Mobilizing so many reservists would be messy — but the influx of troops would make it difficult for Ukraine to retake more territory.
Russia does not have international donors like Ukraine, but Moscow’s growing partnership with Iran will likely grow by 2023. Iran indeed supplied Russia has used drones to attack Ukraine’s infrastructure, but many of the drones and missiles that are rumored to have appeared are yet to be seen on the battlefield. some commenters Argues That Iran is waiting until October, when a UN resolution on the 2015 Iran nuclear deal — which would lead to sanctions if it supplies Iran with long-range missiles — expires.
Iran has much more to offer Russia than missiles and drones. The country has been under international sanctions for some time and is more adept at evading international restrictions. Not only will Tehran be able to help Russia smuggled with oil to finance the war, but it may be able to help Russia get a Western manufacture items its missiles and drones. The United States stepped up Penalties On Iran due to its arms transfers this month, but stopping the supply of components completely will be difficult.
With so many possibilities for arms transfers, it is hard to know what 2023 will look like for Ukraine. Russia’s willingness to call up hundreds of thousands of new soldiers and benefit from their relations with countries like Iran will improve their ability to continue fighting. On the other hand, if American and European support increases in scale and scope, Ukraine’s leaders will find themselves at the helm of an even deadlier fighting force.
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