As Ukraine is getting ready to liberate more territory in the coming months, the U.S. and Germany have announced that they will be providing armored vehicles to the Ukrainian military and several other weapon systems.
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Meanwhile, the Ukrainian forces continue to wait for the appropriate weather conditions. M
ud and freezing rain have turned the battlefield into a huge quagmire, making mobile offensive operations difficult and favoring static defense and localized attacks.
On day 317 of the war, the Ukrainian military continues to have the strategic initiative.
With A Little Help From My Friends
In a joint press statement after a call between U.S. President Joe Biden and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, the two leaders announced further military assistance to Ukraine, including about 50 M2/M3 Bradley and 40 Marder infantry fighting vehicles and an additional battery of MIM-104 Patriot air defense missiles (to be provided by Germany).
“President Biden and Chancellor Scholz expressed their common determination to continue to provide the necessary financial, humanitarian, military and diplomatic support to Ukraine for as long as needed,” the joint statement said.
The announcement of more military aid comes in the wake of France’s commitment to send Ukraine AMX-10 wheeled tank killers.
“To this end, the United States intends to supply Ukraine with Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles, and Germany intends to provide Ukraine with Marder Infantry Fighting Vehicles. Both countries plan to train Ukrainian forces on the respective systems,” the joint statement added.
Nothing significant in terms of foreign policy and economy happens in Europe without the greenlight from Germany. But when it comes to military power and readiness, Berlin is at the bottom of the pile among the countries of the European Union. Nonetheless, Germany has a potent defense and aerospace industry that equips several militaries around the world with advanced weapon systems.
The M2/M3 Bradley and Marder will allow the Ukrainian military to better protect its tanks in combat.
Although the two weapon systems can’t stand toe-to-toe with Russian tanks, they can carry infantry close to the action with increased safety.
The operational environment in Ukraine means that tanks often have to fight within urban areas, thus making them easy targets for enemy infantry. So, if the Ukrainian military can bring its own infantry closer to where the action is, it can increase the survivability of its tanks.
The decision to send Kyiv M2/M3 Bradley infantry fighting vehicles could also pave the way for a future shipment of M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine.
Russian Casualties in Ukraine
Meanwhile, the Russian forces continue to suffer heavy casualties on the ground.
Overall, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Friday, Ukrainian forces have killed approximately 110,250 Russian troops (and wounded approximately twice to thrice that number), destroyed 285 fighter, attack, bomber, and transport jets, 272 attack and transport helicopters, 3,064 tanks, 2,059 artillery pieces, 6,124 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, 431 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 16 boats and cutters, 4,797 vehicles and fuel tanks, 215 anti-aircraft batteries, 1,844 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 182 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems, and 723 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses.
Expert Biography: A 19FortyFive Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist specializing in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate.