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3 Jul, 2023 10:28

Ukraine’s Leopard tank fleet dwindling – Shoigu

The number of German-made tanks lost by Kiev equals all the supplies from Poland and Portugal, the defense minister says
Ukraine’s Leopard tank fleet dwindling – Shoigu

The number of Ukrainian Leopard 2 battle tanks destroyed by Russian forces is comparable to the entire supply of the vehicles that Kiev received from Poland and Portugal, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu has reported.

Shoigu said on Monday that Ukraine has lost 16 Leopard tanks, which, he added “practically amounts to 100% of the tanks of this type supplied by Poland and Portugal.” Warsaw earlier pledged 14 Leopard 2A4s to Ukraine, with the first deliveries reported in March. Portugal sent three Leopard 2A6 tanks via Germany the same month.

In a similar update on June 22, senior Russian officials claimed Ukraine had lost 13 Leopard tanks.

Shoigu claimed during a ministerial meeting that the tanks had been hit after June 4 in the southern part of the frontline, along with 15 planes, three military helicopters and over 900 armored vehicles.

The date is considered by Russia to be the start of Kiev’s counteroffensive, in which Western tanks were expected to give Ukrainian troops an edge. According to the Russian minister, “overall the enemy failed to reach its objectives on any direction,” which proves the mastery of Russian soldiers and “obviously inflated expectations put on the much-praised Western weapons.”

He further claimed that Ukraine’s foreign backers were pressuring Kiev to continue assaults on Russian positions despite the loss of some 2,500 pieces of heavy weaponry so far.

The Wall Street Journal reported last week that after their failure to break through Russian defense lines, the Ukrainian forces have been keeping Western weapons away from the frontline and ceased major attacks.

The article detailed the experience of a Ukrainian tank crew, who were trained to operate Leopard 2 tanks in Germany. They said their side was “shocked” by the scale of Russia’s preparations for the counteroffensive.