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The War in Ukraine Is Going to Explode

Leopard 2 Tank. Image Credit Creative Commons.

The war in Ukraine continues for the 339th day.

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The best way to describe the current situation is like the calm before the storm. Both sides are amassing forces and weapon systems for large-scale offensive operations once the weather conditions improve. 

Heavy Fighting in Ukraine 

However, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t heavy fighting on the ground right now. The casualty figures alone can attest to the fierceness of the combat. As usual, the heaviest fighting is taking place around Bakhmut in the Donbas

After the capture of Soledar in the north, the Russian forces are trying to breach the southern defenses of Bakhmut in the Donbas, cut the Ukrainian lines of communication, and surround the town. The Ukrainian defenses are holding on for the time being, but the Ukrainian forces are under pressure. 

321 Heavy Tanks for Ukraine?

After several days of negotiations, Germany finally capitulated and agreed to send Leopard 2 main battle tanks to Ukraine. This decision opened the way for a great deal of military aid to Ukraine. Indeed, since then, security aid announcements to Ukraine from Western countries have been pouring in. 

According to Ambassador of Ukraine to France Vadym Omelchenko, several countries have committed to sending a total of 321 heavy tanks to the Ukrainian military. The official didn’t go into details on which countries are sending what, but this is what we know so far. 

Poland is leading the way with 30 T-72, 30 PT-91 Twardy, which is a modernized version of the Russian T-72, and 14 Leopard 2A4 tanks. The U.S. is sending 31 M1 Abrams tanks. Germany is sending 14 Leopard 2A6 tanks. Finally, the U.K. is sending 14 Challenger 2 tanks. 

These commitments bring the total number to 133 heavy tanks, but only 73 of which are Western weapon systems. There are several other countries that have shown a willingness to send main battle tanks to Ukraine, including France, Finland, Spain, Canada, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Portugal. However, there haven’t been any concrete commitments thus far. 

With more than 2,000 Leopard 2 tanks in the arsenals of NATO members and partners, the German decision to provide the main battle tank to Ukraine and also greenlight transfers by third countries can be a game-changer. 

The Russian Casualties

The Russian forces are suffering heavy casualties on the ground. In the last four days alone, they have lost around 3,000 men killed and wounded, according to Ukrainian estimates. 

Overall, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Saturday, Ukrainian forces have killed approximately 125,510 Russian troops (and wounded approximately twice to thrice that number).

Equipment destroyed includes: 293 fighter, attack, bomber, and transport jets, 284 attack and transport helicopters, 3,189 tanks, 2,188 artillery pieces, 6,344 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, 453 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 18 boats and cutters, 5,027 vehicles and fuel tanks, 221 anti-aircraft batteries, 1,947 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 199 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems, and 796 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses. 

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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. 

1945’s Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist with specialized expertise in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate. His work has been featured in Business Insider, Sandboxx, and SOFREP.