Out With the Old, in With the New(er)

Not every nation in the world is willing to send tanks to Ukraine to help them fight off the Russians. However, one country that has not been afraid to do so has been Poland. According to the Ukrainian multimedia platform Ukrinform, Poland has sent more than 240 tanks to its neighbor. In addition, they’ve also sent more than 100 armored personnel carriers. The combined value of the weapons the Poles have provided to the Ukrainians totals over $2 billion.

Ukrinform tells us that in an interview with the German newspaper Bild, Polish President Andrzej Duda stated, “We sent[T-72] tanks from Poland to Ukraine: almost two combat tank groups. There are more than 240 tanks that the Ukrainian army can service. We have sent almost a hundred armored personnel carriers.” He went on to mention that they also sent aid in the form of ammunition, small arms, and other types of various military equipment.

As he was depleting his nation’s weapons arsenal, President Duda made it clear that he expected his Western allies to help make up for their shortfall with weapons systems of the latest generation. Especially American weapons. He also explicitly mentioned wanting Leopard 2A4 main battle tanks from Germany. No doubt about it, the Germans build a good tank. However, there have not been any indications that the Germans were willing to share more of them with their NATO ally anytime soon.

Shown here is a T 72 Main Battle Tank that the 1st Battalion 4th Infantry Regiment operated during Exercise Saber Junction 20 at the Hohenfels Training Area, Germany, August 24th, 2020.

In addition to the tanks, The Wall Street Journal reports that the Poles have provided Grad rocket launchers, self-propelled howitzers, and other Soviet-era weaponry from the older stock in their arsenal. The Ukrainians were quite glad to put it to use. One senior official is quoted as saying, “Ukraine got more from Poland than it asked for.”  

The Journal says Poland is not the only nation to give tanks to Ukraine. The Czechs have provided a couple of dozen T-72s. Mykhailo Podolyak, a senior Ukrainian Presidential aide to Volodymyr Zelensky, announced through Reuters that it would be sending tanks as well as airplanes to help the war effort in Ukraine. He stated, “Many nations are showing more courage today than half of the G20 [Group of 20 major economic powers]. Like North Macedonia, giving Ukraine a (supportive) shoulder in the form of tanks and planes.”

Ukraine Weapons Tracker has reported via Twitter that North Macedonia is doing its part by donating at least 8 T-72 tanks to Ukraine.