Day 336: allies sending tanks to Ukraine, Ukrainian troops pull back from Soledar

Germany to send Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, allow other countries to do so

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced Wednesday that his government would provide Ukraine with Leopard 2 battle tanks.

Germany would continue to increase its military support for Ukraine, Scholz is quoted as saying in a statement released after a cabinet meeting. “The Federal Government has decided to make Leopard 2 battle tanks available to the Ukrainian Armed Forces,” he said. “This is the result of intensive consultations with our allies and international partners,” the Chancellor told German lawmakers.

Germany said the allies’ goal was to quickly assemble two tank battalions with Leopard 2 tanks for Ukraine.

As a first step, Germany will provide a company with 14 Leopard 2 A6 tanks from Bundeswehr stocks. Other European partners will also hand over Leopard 2 tanks. The training of the Ukrainian crews is to begin quickly in Germany. In addition to training, the package will also include logistics, ammunition and system maintenance.

On January 25, U.S. President Joe Biden said the U.S. will send 31 M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine.

What western tanks will mean for Ukraine, analysis by Institute for the Study of War

The western tanks could be a gamechanger for Ukraine, enabling the Ukrainian Armed Forces to take advantage of having pinned the Russian forces in Bakhmut, develop a counteroffensive and retake Ukrainian territory, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said in its latest report on January 24. 

The ISW collected accounts of the potential supply of tanks to Ukraine by a coalition of allies. The Wall Street Journal reported on January 24 that the U.S. is preparing to send “a significant number” of Abrams M1 tanks to Ukraine and that the White House may announce the delivery as soon as January 25. 

German newspaper Der Spiegel reported on January 24 that German Chancellor Olaf Scholz decided to deliver at least one tank company (14 tanks) of Leopard 2 main battle tanks to Ukraine in an unspecified time frame.

Poland will send likely Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine following Germany’s decision.

The United Kingdom will send 14 Challenger 2 tanks to Ukraine.

French President Emmanuel Macron said he would not rule out the possibility of France sending Ukraine [an unspecified number of] Leclerc tanks.

Western states’ provision of main battle tanks to Ukraine will help enable Ukraine to conduct mechanized warfare to defeat the Russian military and liberate Ukrainian territory, the Institute for the Study of War said. ISW previously assessed that the West has contributed to Ukraine’s inability to take advantage of having pinned Russian forces in Bakhmut by slow-rolling or withholding weapons systems and supplies essential for large-scale counteroffensive operations. Ukrainian Commander-in-Chief Valery Zaluzhnyi previously emphasized in December 2022 that Ukraine needs 300 main battle tanks (among other weapon systems) to enable Ukrainian counteroffensives, the report reads.

Ukrainian troops withdraw from Soledar, Ukrainian military command says

The Ukrainian Armed Forces had completely withdrawn from Soledar, in Donetsk region, spokesperson for the Eastern Military Command of the Ukrainian Armed Forces Serhiy Cherevatyi said. “Ukraine’s defense forces moved away from Soledar to save the lives of the personnel. They took previously prepared defensive positions,” he said.

The Ukrainian troops defending Soledar performed a feat, firmly holding their positions despite the enemy’s power being three-five times superior to theirs. “They had inflicted huge losses on [the Russian forces] comparable to the losses of the aggressor in the two Chechen wars,” the spokesperson said. 

In the first weeks of 2023, Russia massed its forces in an attempt to capture Soledar, a neighboring town to Bakhmut. They had continuously tried to capture Soledar since May 2022. In January, the Russians threw almost all of their forces into the battle, using the assault units of the Wagner Group and other types of units as “cannon fodder”. Intense fighting and the heavy use of artillery and aircraft have left Soledar almost completely destroyed. 

Podcast Explaining Ukraine. Local apocalypse in Eastern Ukraine

Local apocalypse in Eastern Ukraine. We went there again, and this is what we can tell you. In some villages, every single house has been destroyed, without exception, and some tiny towns have been practically wiped off the face of the earth. It will be a long time before normal life can return to these places. This is the result of the Russian crime of aggression, cruel and senseless. This is our new episode of the “Explaining Ukraine” podcast by UkraineWorld. Hosts: Volodymyr Yermolenko, Ukrainian philosopher and journalist, chief editor of, and Tetyana Ogarkova, Ukrainian scholar and journalist, in charge of international outreach at the Ukraine Crisis Media Centre.

Kazakhstan support of Ukraine: the Yurts of Invincibility. Ukraine in Flames #321

Kazakhstan has traditionally been one of russia’s closest allies, however due to russian failed invasion of Ukraine, russian influence in Kazakhstan and the wider Central Asia region is in serious decline. From the beginning of the full-scale invasion Kazakhstan is providing urgent humanitarian aid to Ukraine and recently opened three Yurts of Invincibility in Kyiv, Kharkiv and Bucha. Watch Ukraine in flames #321 to find out how these Yurts look like, what was the idea behind them and how their mere existence angered a lot of russians.


  • Yurii Poita, Head of the Asian section at the New Geopolitics Research Network
  • Serhiy Nahorniak, Member of the Parliament of Ukraine, Head of the Inter-Parliamentary Friendship Group “Ukraine – Kazakhstan”