Status: 10.12.2023, 16:33 PM
By: Maximilian Kurz
Ukrainian soldiers in military training – now they are getting support from new units. © Sergei Supinsky/AFP
The Ukrainian armed forces are arming themselves: five new mechanized brigades are being formed – but apparently the motorization is missing.
Kyiv – In a further step to strengthen its defense capability, Ukraine is deploying five new mechanized brigades – a 5 percent increase in the number of existing ground troops. This is reported by Forbes, among others.
The new units are made up of experienced officers and non-commissioned officers from existing brigades, as well as around 2,000 new recruits. The most pressing problem for the Ukrainian armed forces seems to be equipment: in particular, there is a lack of infantry fighting vehicles, which are essential for mechanized brigades. Uncertainty about the procurement of these vehicles raises questions about whether these new brigades will be fully operational.
Although the Ukrainian military openly communicates about the formations of the new brigades, there is no mention of the vehicles necessary for their mechanization. Official photos show the recruits in training, but without armored vehicles.
Ukraine will have to improvise: new brigades with old tanks?
Now the brigades hope that they will not have to rely on obsolete vehicles. Nevertheless, the Soviet BMP-1 infantry fighting vehicle is always the subject of discussion. The combat vehicle from the 1960s is only lightly armored and offers little protection for its crew.
A glimmer of hope could be the delivery of 200 Polish Wolverines, a well-protected, eight-wheeled combat vehicle. The first 100 vehicles are expected to arrive this year, the rest in 2024. However, it is still unclear whether and how many of these modern vehicles will be allocated to the new brigades.
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Given that combat vehicles can quickly be lost in battle, access to a large supply of replacement vehicles is crucial. It remains to be seen whether the new mechanized brigades will be equipped with modern combat vehicles, or whether they will have to make do with older, more vulnerable and already existing BMPs, MT-LB tractors or trucks.
Hopes for additional support from Ukraine's allies are high, but the situation remains uncertain given recent political developments, such as the rejection of new funding for Ukraine's defense efforts by pro-Russian Republicans in the U.S. Congress. (Maximilian Kurz)