Ukraine says it needs several hundred tanks to retake territory

A 'Leopard 2PL' tank of the Polish army at firing range Drawsko Pomorskie, in north-west Poland, on May 27, 2022. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

KYIV - Ukraine needs several hundred tanks from its Western allies in order to conduct a counter-offensive against Russian forces to retake occupied territory, President Volodymyr Zelensky’s chief of staff said on Monday.

“We need tanks - not 10-20, but several hundred,” the official, Mr Andriy Yermak, wrote on the Telegram app.

“Our goal is (restoring) the borders of 1991 and punishing the enemy, who will pay for their crimes.”

Kyiv is pleading for supplies of tanks, in particular the German-made Leopard 2 which is used by many Nato members and which requires Berlin’s approval to be re-exported to Ukraine.

Poland’s Prime Minister said on Monday his government would ask Germany for permission to send Leopard tanks to Ukraine, and planned to send them whether or not Berlin agreed.

Germany’s Foreign Minister had said on Sunday that Berlin would not stand in the way if Poland wanted to do so. According to a 2019 UN weapons registry, Poland has 247 Leopard 2 tanks.

Russia occupies a swathe of eastern and southern Ukraine, as well as the Crimea peninsula, which Moscow annexed in 2014.

Ukraine’s sovereign borders were established in 1991, following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Kyiv has named the withdrawal of Russian troops from all its territory as one of the main conditions to end the 11-month-long war. REUTERS

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