President Putin says western tanks are burning more fiercely than Soviet era tanks and Russia will not give up
Ukrainian troops are reluctant to make use of the heavy equipment supplied by Western backers, as it has become a liability, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday.
Western tanks are a priority target for Russian forces, and burn more fiercely than Soviet-made equivalents when hit, the president told the Rossiya 24 TV channel.
Russian troops have destroyed a total of 311 Ukrainian tanks since June 4, Putin said, adding that “at least a third of them, I believe, were Western-made tanks, including Leopards.”
“I can say that Ukrainian servicemen often refuse to get into those [Western] tanks because they are a top priority target for our guys and are being destroyed first on the battlefield. And they burn like the rest – probably even better than… the Soviet-made ones like T-72,” the Russian leader stated.
Russian President Vladimir Putin. © Sputnik/Pavel Bednyakov
Further Western arms deliveries will not significantly help Kiev on the battlefield, Putin warned, adding that it “will only make the situation worse… for the Ukrainian side,” inflaming the conflict further. He added that some parties are deliberately trying to prolong the hostilities.
Russia has repeatedly stated that the Western-made tanks, which Kiev had largely reserved for its much-touted counteroffensive, would not be a game changer. As early as January, the Kremlin predicted that they would burn like the other weapons sent to Ukraine by the US and its allies. The Ukrainian campaign, which was launched in early June, has so far failed to produce any tangible results.
Kiev’s forces have suffered heavy losses while seeking to penetrate the Russian defences, while gaining little ground. In early July, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said Ukraine’s fleet of German-made Leopard tanks was dwindling. According to the Wall Street Journal, Ukrainian commanders have been holding back their Western tanks after an initial failure to achieve significant battlefield successes.
“Our opponents expected that we would retreat or surrender, but this will not happen, as we often say in such cases,” Putin said on Thursday at the Future Technology Forum event in Moscow.
“Russia will only advance, on a path of its own, while not isolating from anyone,” Putin added. “To external pressure, we will respond only by improving the quality and efficiency of work and spreading freedom.
”The technology embargo imposed by the West in 2022 was an attempt to force Russia to give up sovereignty and the ability to chart its own historical path, the president explained.
Moscow responded in the same way it had in 2014, when the first wave of sanctions became an incentive for the rapid development of domestic capabilities. The same “positive processes” that happened with Russian agriculture are now happening with manufacturing and technology, he added.
The Future Technology Forum, dubbed ‘Quantum World: Computing and Communications’, began on July 9 and will conclude on Friday.
The exhibit portion of the event, which is open to the public, began on Thursday and features high-tech products from major Russian enterprises, ranging from nuclear giant Rosatom to Sberbank.