Philipp Schulze/picture alliance via Getty Images
- Ukraine’s allies have agreed to send it advanced tanks after months of indecision.
- They also want it to swap its fighting style to one of swift attacks against Russia, per CNN.
- Ukraine expects a big offensive from Russia in the spring, and demanded the weapons to fight back.
Western officials are suggesting that it adopt a new style of warfare and new tactics that reflect the high-level weaponry it’s been given, CNN reported.
This would involve moving away from battles of attrition towards launching rapid attacks against Russian forces.
Three US officials — deputy national security adviser Jon Finer, Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, and Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl — met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy last week, where they reportedly suggested the change in tactic.
The group said Ukraine should move towards a style of mechanized maneuver warfare that “uses rapid, unanticipated movements against Russia,” sources told CNN.
The new tanks and armored vehicles committed by Ukraine’s allies are supposed to help Ukraine make the switch, CNN reported.
Widow Anastasia Ohrimenk mourns her fiance Oleksiy Zavadskyi, a Ukrainian serviceman who died in combat on January 15 in Bakhmut, on January 19, 2023.
AP Photo/Daniel Cole
US and Western officials have also, over the last few weeks, been suggesting to Ukraine that it starts a new offensive in the south of the country, instead of continuing to grind in the east, according to CNN.
Among other things, officials have suggested that Ukraine move on from trying to defend the city of Bakhmut, CNN reported.
Tanks for Ukraine
Ukraine had been requesting advanced tanks for months, but the US and Germany in particular had been reluctant to send the weapons.
That changed this week: President Joe Biden’s administration is expected to announce on Wednesday that it will send M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, sources told The Washington Post and The New York Times.
And German media reported that Germany will now send its Leopard 2 battle tanks to Ukraine.
Germany in particular had been criticized for its delay, including by other European countries.
Protesters demanding combat tanks to support the Ukrainian military, amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Berlin, Germany, January 20, 2023.
Other allies, like the UK and Poland, agreed earlier this month to give Ukraine the tanks, putting further pressure on the US and Germany.
The latest decisions by the US and Germany appear to have opened floodgates: Spanish newspaper El Pais reported on Wednesday that Spain will give German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, while Norwegian newspapers reported that their country may do the same.
Ukraine expects Russia to launch a new offensive in the spring, and is trying to ramp up its own fighting power in preparation.
But it is not clear when the tanks will be deployable in Ukraine. The tanks need to be prepared and sent, and Ukrainian troops need to be trained to use them.
A senior US official told The Washington Post that the US tanks would likely not be sent until the latter half of the year, which would mean they would not be in Ukraine in time to fight back against a Russian spring offensive.
Even so, Ukraine’s plans, and Western hopes for a new, more aggressive strategy, will be aided by other advanced weaponry that its allies have recently committed and sent.
This includes the Patriot missile system from the US, new drones and anti-tank weapons, as well as howitzers.