Ukraine To Receive 120-140 Western Tanks For Initial Stage, Training Could Be Cut To Five Weeks
Illustration of German Leopard 2 tank training. (Wikimedia Commons/US Army Europe/Visual Information Specialist Markus Rauchenberger)

JAKARTA - Ukraine will receive 120 to 140 Western tanks in the first batch of deliveries from the 12-nation coalition, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Tuesday, with the timing of the operational training of the Western tanks also a concern.

Kyiv secured promises from the West this month to supply main battle tanks to help fend off a full-scale Russian invasion, with Moscow making major efforts to make incremental advances in eastern Ukraine.

"The tank coalition now has 12 members. I can note that in the first batch of contributions, the Ukrainian armed forces will receive between 120 and 140 tanks of the Western model," Kuleba said during an online briefing.

He said the tanks would include German Leopard 2, British Challenger 2, and US M1 Abrams, including an approved supply of French Leclerc tanks.

Foreign Minister Kuleba did not provide a time limit for any shipments. In addition, time will also be needed for training with tanks.

He added that Kyiv was working behind the scenes to win over more countries to supply the tanks, at what officials said was a critical juncture in the war.

"... We are continuing to work on expanding the membership of the tank coalition and increasing the contributions of those who have already pledged," he said.

pelatihan tank leopard
German Leopard 2 tank training illustration. (Wikimedia Commons/US Army Europe/Visual Information Specialist Markus Rauchenberger)

Separately, Poland is targeting to cut the operational training time of its Leopard 2 battle tanks to five weeks at a training center.

The village of Swietoszow in western Poland, near the German border, houses one of only three Leopard training centers in Europe - the others are in Germany and Switzerland.

The Polish military declined to confirm where Ukrainian troops would be trained, but military experts said Swietoszow was the most likely location.

"It is possible or even likely that the training of Ukrainian Leopard 2 tank crews will take place in Swietoszow, but other locations cannot be ruled out," said Jakub Pawlowski, military expert and deputy editor-in-chief of

At the training center equipped with simulators, each of the 14 crew members of four personnel can undergo instructions simultaneously. Training of the Leopard, the pride of the modern battlefield tank used by many NATO member states in Europe, usually takes up to 10 weeks. However, this can be reduced to five weeks, the instructor says.

"If we intensify the training (by maximizing the number of) instructors, our time and our weekends, we can train the entire crew in five weeks," Major Maciej Banaszynski, commander of the Polish Leopard training center, told Reuters.

"Leopard tanks are the third generation of tanks. Their mobility in various terrains is better compared to Russian tanks," said Chief Warn Officer Lukasz Setny, a senior instructor for Leopard.

Banaszynski said Polish instructors were running Leopard training courses for tank crews and drivers.

"In addition, we are now running mechanics courses for the weapons, chassis and equipment that come with the Leopard," he said.

The only tank that Ukraine has so far used against the Russian invasion is the T-72 type inherited from the former Soviet Union.

But, Polish Leopard trainers say, it's not difficult to switch from operating an old to a new generation battle tank.

Kyiv is planning to launch a massive counteroffensive to recapture swathes of territory taken by Russia in the south and east of the country.

However, the United States has told Kyiv to hold off on the plan until Western military aid arrives in Ukraine.

Meanwhile, Ukraine fears that Russia could launch a major offensive of its own in the coming weeks or months.

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