DONETSK, January 24. /TASS/. The Armed Forces of Ukraine will not be able to maintain NATO’s tanks so if the supply of the planned number of such armor is agreed upon, at least 300 more foreign nationals will arrive at the line of contact, security officials in the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) told TASS.
"In fact, there is almost no doubt that if Western tanks are provided [to Kiev], not only will they be under Western command but Western crews will operate them and Western maintenance teams will repair them. It is about a tank battalion, which consists of not only 40 to 42 tanks but also of 350 to 375 personnel," one of the officials explained.
According to him, "the current plans involve up to 40 tanks, which makes up roughly a German tank battalion."
"A tank crew consists of four people. Ours are made up of three because our tanks have an automatic loader that substitutes for one crew member, while there are four members in US, German and British tank crews. Any tank is a rather complicated and expensive machine equipped with Western-made monitoring and reconnaissance devices, navigation and communication systems. The main thing is that all these systems and the tank itself need to be tuned, maintained, repaired and restored after suffering damage in battle. As for the Ukrainian military forces, they are incapable of upkeeping their own T-64 tanks, so what can be said of the complicated weapons systems that are new to them?" the official added.
US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said on Friday following a meeting of Western defense chiefs at the US Ramstein military base in Germany that Washington did not have any announcements to make on plans to provide Abrams tanks to Kiev, and Berlin had not yet made a decision on sending Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine. German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius did not rule out earlier that such a decision could be made in the coming days.