Ukrainian forces will have an opportunity to launch a counteroffensive in the coming spring, meaning that Kyiv’s Western allies have a “window of opportunity” to send tanks until then, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said on Jan. 20.
Austin made the comment in response to questions about Germany’s reluctance to greenlight shipments of Leopard-2 main battle tanks to Kyiv.
German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius earlier said that allies could not reach an agreement on supplying Ukraine with German tanks, following their eight Ramstein meeting.
“We were convinced that Ukraine has the means to succeed,” said Austin.
“There’s a window of opportunity until spring, when they (Kyiv’s forces) could begin their counteroffensive. It’s a small timeframe.”
According to c the chairman of U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley, Ukrainian troops will need help with training for a successful offensive.
“I don’t want to speculate what the counteroffensive will look like,” said Milley.
“Ukrainian forces have already conducted two very successful operations: in Kharkiv and Kherson oblasts. I discussed with (Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine) General (Valerii) Zaluzhnyi his vision for the offensive, without going into the details.”
Secretary Austin added that Ukraine’s allies managed to gather substantial quantities of weapons they will continue to equip Kyiv with.
“These (military aid) packages also include tanks,” Austin said.
“Poland continues to propose sending tanks, and will transfer them. Other countries also signal their readiness to do the same.”
Defense ministers of Ukraine’s international partners gathered at the U.S. Air Force Ramstein base in Germany on Jan. 20, discussing ongoing and future efforts to equip Kyiv’s troops with modern weapons.