Ukraine’s defence minister said on Friday that new tanks supplied by NATO countries would serve as an “iron fist” in a counter-offensive by Kyiv to break through Russian defensive lines.
The official, Oleksii Reznikov, told a news briefing with his Polish counterpart that Western supplies of 155-mm artillery were vital for Ukraine to weather Russia’s own attacks in the south and in the east.
“The new tank coalition with the main tanks of NATO countries – we need this for the counter-offensive, we will use it like an iron fist to break through their defensive lines,” he said.
Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak, in Kyiv on Friday for talks with Reznikov, said Warsaw was helping to train Ukrainian soldiers to use Western tanks and that completing the training was a question of “weeks not days or months”.
Kyiv secured pledges from the West last month to supply main battle tanks to help fend off Russia’s invasion, with Moscow mounting huge efforts to make advances in the east.
Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has said the government expects to receive 120 to 140 Western tanks from a coalition of 12 countries in a first wave of deliveries, including German Leopard 2, British Challenger 2 and US M1 Abrams tanks.