Monthly Archives: January 2023

Arms for Ukraine

The UK has recently announced that it will supply Ukraine with large quantities of munitions, including 600 Brimstone anti tank missiles and 14 Challenger Main Battle Tanks. The British Army had intended to upgrade 148 of its 227 Challenger 2 tanks to Challenger 3 standard. However, Ben Wallace, the Secretary of State for Defence was quoted in The Times on 17 January 2023 as saying that he would be ‘reviewing the number of Challenger 3 conversions to consider whether the lessons of Ukraine suggest that we need a larger tank fleet.’

The same newspaper also reported that the UK is suppling Ukraine with 30 AS-90 self propelled guns, hundreds more armoured vehicles including Bulldogs and 100,000 artillery shells, Wallace admits that this shipment will ‘not change the course of history’ but hope that it will encourage Germany to permit other NATO countries to send Leopard tanks to Ukraine.

Germany has been reluctant to supply tanks to Ukraine. A dozen other NATO countries own about 2,000 Leopards between them. Several, including Finland and Poland are willing to send a total of 90 of their German Leopard tanks to Ukraine but this requires the permission of Germany as the original supplier. This has not been forthcoming until now, but the BBC is now reporting that Germany will not block exports of Leopards to Ukraine.

The USA has not supplied Ukraine with MI Abrams tanks, which it describes as ‘unsuitable’ [The Times 21 January 2023, p. 6] for Ukrainian conditions but it has sent it $23bn worth of missiles, howitzers, ammunition, drones, armoured vehicles, mines, body armour, coastal boats and communications equipment. See this link to The Hill for the full list.

According to NBC News, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Mark Milley think that it will take too long to train Ukrainian crews to operate Abrams, which are also difficult to maintain.

Graphics on the website of the Kiel Institute for the World Economy show that, as of 20 November 2022, the six biggest donors in absolute terms were the USA, UK, EU, Germany. Canada and Poland but that the six biggest relative to GDP were neighbours of Ukraine: Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Czech Republic and Slovakia,

EDIT German Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced on 25 January 2021 that Germany would allow other countries to send Leopards to Ukraine and would send 14 of its Leopards to Ukraine.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/live/world-europe-64396659

EDIT 2 Later on 25 January, the USA announced that it would give 31 M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-64404928

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