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Western allies to deliver 321 tanks to Ukraine: diplomat

28.01.2023 14:30
Western countries have promised to send a total of 321 heavy tanks to Ukraine to help it battle Russia's invasion, a Ukrainian diplomat has said.
An M1 Abrams tank
An M1 Abrams tankPhoto: EPA/Sgt. Anthony Prater/DVIDS via PAP

Vadym Omelchenko, Ukraine's ambassador to Paris, made the statement on France’s BFM TV channel on Friday, Ukrainian state news agency Ukrinform reported.

"As of today, numerous countries have officially confirmed their agreement to deliver 321 heavy tanks to Ukraine," Omelchenko said, as quoted by Ukrinform.

He did not specify which countries would provide the tanks or provide a breakdown of which models, US broadcaster CNN reported.

Race against time

Omelchenko stressed the importance of such deliveries for Ukraine to counteract Russia's armed aggression, the ukrinform.net website reported.

He said that the "delivery dates would vary depending on the type of tank and the country of origin, and the timing would be adjusted during the next round of consultations between Ukraine and Western countries."

He added: "If we had to wait until the month of August or September, it would be too late."

Ukrainian forces have warned they are in a race against time, CNN reported. It said the country fears that a new Russian offensive may begin within two months and is bracing for the coming weeks.

Ukraine's Zelensky thanks Poland for battle tanks

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Friday thanked Poland for its decision to send an additional 60 battle tanks to help his country defend itself against Russia's invasion.

Polish President Andrzej Duda pledged this month that Poland would send a company of German-made Leopard tanks to help Ukraine fight Russia.

Polish Prime Minister Morawiecki said in an interview with Canadian television on Thursday that Poland would send an additional 60 battle tanks to Ukraine, on top of the 14 German-made Leopards it had already promised.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba earlier this week thanked Poland for being the first country to publicly announce its plan to deliver Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine and for helping build a Western "tank coalition" for Ukraine.

US, German tanks for Ukraine

The United States said on Wednesday it would supply Ukraine with 31 advanced Abrams tanks to help the country defend itself against Russia's invasion.

Earlier that day, Germany announced it would deliver a company of 14 Leopard 2 A6 tanks “as a first step" in allied efforts to quickly provide Ukraine with two tank battalions.

Polish Deputy Defence Minister Marcin Ociepa told private broadcaster RMF FM on Friday that it could take around three months before Leopard tanks reach Ukraine, the Reuters news agency reported.

"It depends what country we are talking about, but I would estimate that we are talking about around a quarter ... until those tanks can really be on Ukrainian territory and go into battle," Ociepa said.


Source: PAP, CNN, Reuters, ukrinform.net