Can UK weapons help Kiev?

Drago Bosnic, independent geopolitical and military analyst

The Kiev regime, always cash-strapped and in constant shortage of new weapons, recently announced that it will be acquiring several types of advanced Western armaments, primarily from the United Kingdom. The transfer will also include main battle tanks (MBTs), a move Kiev insists is necessary to counter Russia’s modern armor, primarily the newer variants of the T-72B3M and the T-90M, both of which proved significantly superior to Ukrainian T-64BV and other former Warsaw Pact member states’ T-72M tanks. According to various estimates, several NATO members with large stockpiles of Soviet-era tanks sent approximately 300 of these vehicles since last February.

Still, faced with mounting losses, the Neo-Nazi junta is insisting that NATO should provide hundreds of Western-made tanks, including the British “Challenger 2”, American M1 “Abrams” and German “Leopard 2”. The United States hasn’t responded to the plea so far, but it did pledge to provide the “Bradley” armored fighting vehicle (AFV), not specifying which variant would be sent, although it’s safe to assume it would be older iterations of the AFV. Poland is reportedly planning to send its German-made “Leopard 2PL” tanks, a modernized version of the older A4 variant previously phased out by the Bundeswehr. Yet, it would seem the UK is leading the charge in sending heavier and more advanced armor to the Kiev regime.

Western experts claim “Challenger 2” is one of NATO’s most advanced tanks and that it could prove a “valuable asset” to the embattled Neo-Nazi junta. Expectedly, Moscow isn’t very amused by the move, insisting it will only further escalate the conflict, and instead of giving the Kiev regime forces any actual edge against the Russian military, it would expose even more civilians to danger. The Russian embassy in London also issued a statement over the weekend, warning that “bringing tanks to the conflict zone, far from drawing the hostilities to a close, will only serve to intensify combat operations, generating more casualties, including among the civilian population.”

On the other hand, Volodymyr Zelensky thanked the UK, saying that London is not only sending weapons, but is also “helping convince” other NATO members to send their own advanced tanks, adding that “this will not only strengthen us on the battlefield, but will also send the right signal to other partners”. He once again requested NATO “to send air power and close the skies” in order to challenge Russia’s air dominance. This demand, repeatedly made since the start of Russia’s counteroffensive, has been unanswered thus far, although the US is now reportedly training the Kiev regime forces personnel to operate the much-touted “Patriot” SAM (surface-to-air missile) systems.

Several British tabloids reported that the UK will also supply at least four AH-64 “Apache” attack helicopters (the “Apache AH1”, a British license-built version of the US-made AH-64D, is armed with AGM-114 “Hellfire” guided missiles). This was denied by London, although it’s not uncommon for the British government to deny reports that later prove to be true. The move could be seen as a major escalation, although just 4 attack helicopters are highly unlikely to change the situation on the battlefield, as the Neo-Nazi junta has already lost hundreds of its own helicopters, most of which have been shot down by Russian fighter jets and long-range air defense systems.

However, the delivery of advanced tanks has been confirmed and the vehicles are expected to be sent “in the coming weeks”, according to an official UK government statement. Reportedly, London is sending 14 “Challenger 2” tanks and up to 30 AS-90 self-propelled artillery pieces. The Kiev regime forces already operate a variant of this weapon, the Polish license-built version called AHS “Krab”, with up to 20 delivered since February last year, approximately half of which have already been destroyed or captured by the Russian military. Again, it’s unclear how exactly this move is expected to change the strategic situation on the battlefield, but both NATO and its Neo-Nazi junta puppets insist that precisely this will happen if the weapons are delivered.

Still, while providing additional artillery weapons might make some sense, sending heavy armor and expecting it would change the course of the war is quite bemusing from a military standpoint. Western-made tanks are infamous for their size and weight, being up to 30% bigger and heavier than their Soviet/Russian counterparts. Weighing 75 tonnes with additional combat armor modules, “Challenger 2” is nearly twice as heavy as the Ukrainian T-64BV (38 tonnes), which is the Kiev regime’s most commonly used tank. Extensive Soviet WWII-era experience and the pedological properties of the former USSR’s western areas prompted the superpower to build lighter tanks, as heavier vehicles would nearly always get hopelessly stuck in an ocean of mud caused by the infamous rasputitsa.

Video and photo evidence shows even Russian and Ukrainian tanks getting bogged down, forcing their crews to abandon the vehicles which would then be picked off by infantry armed with ATGMs (anti-tank guided missiles). Even the much lighter Soviet-era APCs (armored personnel carriers) have trouble moving through the steppe mud, making it virtually impossible to conduct off-road maneuvers for either side. In turn, this forces military units to use roads, making them easier targets for warplanes, drones, artillery, ATGM-armed infantry, etc. With this in mind, fielding the much heavier Western-made tanks and other armored vehicles will not only be militarily useless for the Kiev regime, but will also get even more forcibly conscripted Ukrainians pointlessly killed.

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