However, what it did do was help persuade other democratic nations, particularly Germany, to send tanks to help Ukraine defend itself against Vladimir Putin’s invasion. Within two weeks of the announcement in mid-January, western countries had pledged to deliver a total of 321 heavy tanks to Ukraine, according to Kyiv’s ambassador to France.
So the news that Challengers from the UK and the first shipment of Leopards from Germany have now arrived hopefully signals a significant change in the balance of power. Ukrainian defence minister Oleksii Reznikov posted a video on social media showing him taking one of the Challenger 2s “for a spin”. “These fantastic machines will soon begin their combat missions,” he added, along with his thanks to Rishi Sunak and Defence Secretary Ben Wallace.
One Ukrainian tank commander said after training on Challengers in the UK: “I fight for my future, for future of my country and for future of my family. We will fight. This tank for us is like a diamond, I think it is the best tank in the world.” Such motivation is in sharp contrast to Russian soldiers who have spoken about so-called “barrier troops” being positioned behind them to stop them retreating.
The only thing a bloodthirsty thug like Putin understands is force. While he still thinks he can win in Ukraine, the war will continue. It is only when he is defeated on the battlefield that peace will be restored.