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Western-made armor isn't working in Ukraine because it wasn't designed for a conflict of this intensity, Ukrainian analyst says

Three soldiers in a trench pointing guns.
Instructors from the Norwegian Home Guard participating in a blank-fire exercise with Ukrainian soldiers, in August, north of Trondheim, Norway.Jonathan Nackstrand /AFP via Getty Images
  • Western armor isn't cutting it in Ukraine, a military analyst told The Wall Street Journal.

  • Taras Chmut said Western-made tanks weren't designed for an "all-out" war of this intensity.

  • Western allies should instead ramp up deliveries of simpler and cheaper systems, he said.

Western-made armor is failing in Ukraine because it wasn't designed to sustain a conflict of this intensity, a military analyst told The Wall Street Journal.

Taras Chmut, a military analyst who's the head of the Come Back Alive Foundation, which has raised money to purchase and provide arms and equipment to Ukraine, said that "a lot of Western armor doesn't work here because it had been created not for an all-out war but for conflicts of low or medium intensity."


"If you throw it into a mass offensive, it just doesn't perform," he said.

Chmut went on to say Ukraine's Western allies should instead turn their attention to delivering simpler and cheaper systems, but in larger quantities, something Ukraine has repeatedly requested, the newspaper reported.

Despite Chmut's comments, some advanced Western systems Ukraine has received were conceived with the highest-intensity combat in mind — NATO going head-to-head with Soviet forces. The US-made Bradley infantry fighting vehicles and Abrams main battle tanks were built specifically to counter Soviet ground forces.

But like other armored systems, they are susceptible to artillery and mines, both of which have proven fearsome challenges as Ukraine presses against Russian defensive networks.

Less than 5% of tanks destroyed since the start of the war had been taken out by other tanks, Ukrainian officials said in the Journal report, with the rest falling to mines, artillery, antitank missiles, and drones. This means the relative sophistication of a tank is no longer as important, the paper says.

Maj. Gen. Christian Freuding, Germany's director of planning and command staff, said Western military strategists had not yet accepted that quantity trumps quality.

"You need numbers; you need force numbers. In the West, we have reduced our military; we have reduced our stocks. But quantity matters; mass matters," he told the Journal.

Even so, Ukraine continues to ask for more sophisticated tanks and military equipment from its allies.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has repeatedly criticized Western allies for delays in the deliveries of weapons, saying earlier this month that slower arms shipments were hurting Ukraine's chances of success in its ongoing counteroffensive.

A July report compiled by the Kiel Institute for the World Economy said Ukraine's allies had only delivered about half of the heavy weapons that had been promised.

"The gap between promised and delivered military aid is wide," Christoph Trebesch, the head of the team creating the tracker, said.

Meanwhile, Ukraine's defense minister, Rustem Umerov, told The Economist last week his country was prioritizing domestic ammunition production. "Anything that can be produced locally must be produced locally," he said.

Sergej Sumlenny, founder of the German think tank European Resilience Initiative Center, previously told Insider that Ukraine was stepping up its domestic production in part because of concern that Western deliveries would not keep up with its military needs.

Read the original article on Business Insider