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Ex-NATO commander Stavridis says tanks pose ‘real problems’ for Putin

The decision by a number of Western nations to send tanks to Ukraine will create “real problems” for Russian President Vladimir Putin in his nearly one-year-old war there, a former top NATO commander said. ​

“When you put these three types of tanks together and you bring them in real numbers into Ukraine, and I would estimate there will be at least 100, maybe as many as 200 by mid-spring, call it the end of March, that creates real problems for Putin,” ​former NATO Supreme Allied Commander James Stavridis told John Catsimatidis on his WABC radio show in an interview that aired Sunday. 

Stavridis said the Russian leader’s military forces are stretched out along a front that runs hundreds of miles from Russia, through eastern Ukraine where some of the heaviest fighting is taking place, to Crimea in the Black Sea.​

“​With these tanks, the Ukrainians​ ​can ​mask that armor, and use it to punch through the Russian line and separate them, peel them apart, break their logistics chain, and really reduce the ability of Russia to continue what it wants to do, which is to ramp up offensive operations​,” Stavridis, a former admiral, said. 

The estimated number of tanks “creates real problems for Putin,” ​former NATO Supreme Allied Commander James Stavridis said.

A Leopard 2 tank is pictured during a demonstration event.
​Stavridis says tanks mark a “pivotal moment” in the war.

German soldiers stand at a Leopard tank.
Germany said it will send 14 Leopard 2 tanks.

H​e said the ​tanks mark a “pivotal moment” in the war that Russia launched against its neighbor last February.

“It’s also a bad day in the Kremlin because he sees the​ ​unity of the West​.​ … All of the nations of NATO have pulled togethe​r,” Stavridis said.

“​It’s a strong, political and diplomatic signal​.​ … And it’s a very​ i​mportant military step for the alliance​,” he said.

 President Biden, after months of pressure from Ukraine, ​did an about-face last week and said the US will send 31 M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine. ​

The German government said it will send 14 Leopard 2 tanks, ​Britain is providing 14 of its Challenger 2 tanks, and Poland will dispatch 60 tanks, including 30 PT-91s.

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