Ukraine to get ‘most advanced tanks on the battlefield’ for counter-offensive against Russia
US and Netherlands join forces to supply 90 upgraded Czech T-72 tanks as part of $400m military aid package by Jamie Johnson, US Correspondent - for The Telegraph - 04.11.22.
Ukraine will receive 90 refurbished and upgraded Czech T-72 tanks - labelled by the Pentagon as “the most advanced on the battlefield” - as part of $400 million (£348.15 million) in military aid.
The tanks - half of which are being paid for by the US and half by the Netherlands - will have better engines, thermal sights, improved fire control systems and explosive armour.
The new main battle tanks are expected to be ready for combat within the coming weeks and months.
Ukraine has long been pressuring its Western allies to send fresh tanks, which are vital to its counter-offensives to retake territory seized by Russia.
"These are tanks that the Ukrainians know how to use on the battlefield," said Sabrina Singh, a White House spokesman. She said that introducing Western-designed tanks would be "costly", "time sensitive" and a "huge undertaking" for Ukraine.
Russia is also relying on vast numbers of Soviet era T-72 tanks, but has been forced to refit some of its much older T-62 tanks after suffering heavy losses.
Its brand new T-90M tanks - known as "Breakthrough-3" - have been underwhelming in battle, analysts have said.
Some of the "invincible" tanks, which are equipped countermeasures to defend against laser-guided missiles, have been destroyed by Ukrainian forces.
Each loss of a T-90M heaps further embarrassment on the Kremlin, not least because each unit is reported to cost about £4 million.
Ukraine claims to have destroyed or captured some 2,750 Russian tanks since the invasion began.
In a further sign that the West is preparing for the war to carry on well into 2023, the Pentagon confirmed plans to establish a security assistance headquarters in Germany that will oversee all weapons transfers and military training.
As part of the new aid package, the US will also supply 1,100 Phoenix Ghost “Kamikaze” drones, which explode on impact.
The US has committed more than $18.2 billion in weapons and other equipment to Ukraine since the war began on Feb 24.
The announcement came as Jake Sullivan, Joe Biden's national security adviser, made a surprise visit to Kyiv to "to underscore the United States' steadfast support".
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Ukraine is to benefit from some of the best tanks on the battlefield as it embarks on counter-attacks against Kremlin forces Credit: AP Photo/Aleksandr Shulman