Instructors from the Norwegian Home Guard participate in a blank fire exercise, together with Ukrainian soldiers, on August 25, 2023, north of Trondheim, Norway.Jonathan Nackstrand /AFP via Getty Images
Western armor isn’t cutting it in Ukraine, a military analyst told The Wall Street Journal.
Taras Chmut said Western-made tanks are not designed for an “all-out” war of this intensity.
Western allies should instead ramp up deliveries of simpler and cheaper systems, he said.
Western-made armor is failing in Ukraine because it was not designed to sustain a conflict of this intensity, a military analyst told The Wall Street Journal.
Taras Chmut, a military analyst and head of the Come Back Alive Foundation, which has raised money to purchase and provide arms and equipment to Ukraine, said that “a lot of Western armor doesn’t work here because it had been created not for an all-out war but for conflicts of low or medium intensity.”
“If you throw it into a mass offensive, it just doesn’t perform,” he said.
Chmut went on to say that Ukraine’s Western allies should instead turn their attention to delivering simpler and cheaper systems, but in larger quantities, something Ukraine has repeatedly requested, per the newspaper.
Western military strategists have not yet accepted that quantity trumps quality, Major General Christian Freuding, Germany’s director of planning and command staff, told the Journal.
“You need numbers; you need force numbers. In the West, we have reduced our military, we have reduced our stocks. But quantity matters; mass matters,” he said.
Less than 5% of tanks destroyed since the start of the war have been taken out by other tanks, according to Ukrainian officials quoted by the newspaper, with the rest falling to mines, artillery, antitank missiles, and drones. This means that the relative sophistication of a tank is no longer as important, the paper said.
Despite this, Ukraine continues to ask for more sophisticated tanks and military equipment from its allies.
Ukrainian President Zelenskyy has repeatedly criticized Western allies for delays in the deliveries of weapons, saying earlier this month that slower arms shipments are hurting Ukraine’s chances of success in its ongoing counteroffensive.
According to a July report compiled by the Kiel Institute for the World Economy, Ukraine’s allies have only delivered about half of the heavy weapons that have been promised.
“The gap between promised and delivered military aid is wide,” Christoph Trebesch, the head of the team creating the tracker, said.
Meanwhile, Ukraine’s defense minister, Rustem Umerov, told The Economist last week that his country is prioritizing domestic ammunition production. “Anything that can be produced locally must be produced locally,” he said.
Ukraine is stepping up its domestic production in part because of concern that Western deliveries will not keep up with its military needs, Sergej Sumlenny, founder of the German think tank European Resilience Initiative Center, previously told Insider.
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