Following months of repeated requests from Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky, the United States has agreed to send 31 of its M1 Abrams battle tanks to help Ukraine ward off the Russian invasion. The announcement, which came days after the U.K. pledged 14 of its Challenger 2 tanks, was followed by Germany committing to sending 14 Leopard 2 tanks and authorizing allied nations using the Leopard 2 to send their own. (Here is a look at the countries sending the most aid to Ukraine.)
Until now, Ukraine has been fighting the Russian occupation with modernized Soviet-era T-72 tanks, supplied by Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, North Macedonia, and the Netherlands – in addition to several hundred that have been captured from Russian forces. Unlike the T-72s, the new American, British, and German tanks are state of the art machines that offer a combination of mobility and firepower with a high degree of accuracy.
Even though the number of new battle tanks falls short of the 300 requested by Zelensky, Ukrainian officials are hopeful that the new weapons will be instrumental in removing Russian forces from occupied regions and ultimately lead to victory as early as this year. Deliveries of the tanks will not be completed before spring, and whether or not more follow remains to be seen.
Using data from government and defense contractor websites and military media coverage, 24/7 Wall St. compared the tanks that are, or will soon be, deployed on the battlefield in Ukraine. We reviewed the tanks Western governments have recently pledged to Ukraine and the tanks being used by Russian forces.
The tanks are listed in no particular order and include four models either currently being used by, or promised to, Ukraine, and two models being used by the Russians. We also considered two additional battle tanks. The first is a French tank that the government in Paris is reportedly considering sending to Ukraine. On the Russian side, a potential tank said to be the most capable and advanced battle tank in the world is marred by problems that will likely keep it on the sidelines for the foreseeable future.
While NATO tanks may have a slight edge over their Russian counterparts, the tanks being used by the Russian army are still advanced and highly capable machines. (Here is a look at how Russia’s and NATO’s military capabilities compare.)
Click here to see how Ukraine’s newly bolstered tank army compares to Russia’s.
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