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13 Jul, 2023 16:28

Western tanks burn more fiercely than Soviet ones – Putin

Kiev’s soldiers don’t want to use Western armor because it’s a priority target for Moscow’s military, Russian president believes
Western tanks burn more fiercely than Soviet ones – Putin

Ukrainian troops are reluctant to make use of the heavy equipment supplied by Western backers, as it has become a liability, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday. 

Western tanks are a priority target for Russian forces, and burn more fiercely than Soviet-made equivalents when hit, the president told the Rossiya 24 TV channel.

Russian troops have destroyed a total of 311 Ukrainian tanks since June 4, Putin said, adding that “at least a third of them, I believe, were Western-made tanks, including Leopards.”

“I can say that Ukrainian servicemen often refuse to get into those [Western] tanks because they are a top priority target for our guys and are being destroyed first on the battlefield. And they burn like the rest – probably even better than… the Soviet-made ones like T-72,” the Russian leader stated.

Further Western arms deliveries will not significantly help Kiev on the battlefield, Putin warned, adding that it “will only make the situation worse… for the Ukrainian side,” inflaming the conflict further. He added that some parties are deliberately trying to prolong the hostilities.

Russia has repeatedly stated that the Western-made tanks, which Kiev had largely reserved for its much-touted counteroffensive, would not be a game changer. As early as January, the Kremlin predicted that they would burn like the other weapons sent to Ukraine by the US and its allies. 

The Ukrainian campaign, which was launched in early June, has so far failed to produce any tangible results. Kiev’s forces have suffered heavy losses while seeking to penetrate the Russian defences, while gaining little ground. In early July, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said Ukraine’s fleet of German-made Leopard tanks was dwindling. 

According to the Wall Street Journal, Ukrainian commanders have been holding back their Western tanks after an initial failure to achieve significant battlefield successes.