Ukraine is preparing for a counter-offensive, piling up substantial armaments from the West. These include the Leopard 2A6, the most advanced variant of the tank, from Germany, which pledged two battalions of Leopards, as well as Denmark, Germany, and the Netherlands purchasing at least 100 older, refurbished Leopard 1A5s, making up another three battalions. America has promised 31 M1A2 Abrams, and Britain is sending 14 Challenger 2s. The military aid agreed at the eighth meeting of the Ukraine Defence Contact Group in January amounts to two-thirds of the total sent to Ukraine in all of 2022. The current focus is on the battle for the town of Bakhmut, but there is an expected counter-offensive in the works as early as April.
Why West’s arms matter?
The West’s arms aid has transformed Ukraine’s army, with 40% of the military aid pledged by the Pentagon since the war began, coming in the three months since December 9th. In the past, the bulk of Ukraine’s hardware has been of Soviet origin, but the ratio of Ukrainian to Western kit is expected to fall to five to two, as more Western aid flows in.
General Valery Zaluzhny, Ukraine’s top officer, hopes that eventually, he will have three new army corps at his disposal, each with six brigades, and each comprising more than 20,000 men. The aid received has been more than just tanks; it also includes armoured bridge-laying vehicles, which would be vital for any offensive in the south or east. While there is still a fixation on tanks, a more important shift in strategy has occurred, with allies agreeing to equip Ukraine with more than a division’s worth of kit, aiming to have it in place by the end of March.
Zaluzhny’s vision of three new army corps
The Western aid to Ukraine is a turning point, as the West realizes that a protracted war is not in its interests, and Russia is even weaker than previously thought. The infusion of arms agreed in Germany in January alone amounts to two-thirds of the total sent to Ukraine in all of 2022. The focus is now on the battle for the town of Bakhmut, but there is an expected counter-offensive as early as April.
The Ukrainian army is being transformed as a result of this aid, and the ratio of Ukrainian to Western kit is expected to fall to five to two. This aid will have a significant impact on Ukraine’s defense capabilities, and General Valery Zaluzhny’s vision of having three new army corps at his disposal, each with six brigades and each comprising more than 20,000 men, is not unrealistic. The future of the conflict remains uncertain, but with Western backing, Ukraine is preparing to fight back and to liberate occupied territories.