The correspondent Andrew Harding visited members of a front-line Ukrainian tank unit. This is already engaging Russian forces close to the hotly contested towns of Bakhmut and Soledar. The UK and other European nations are also ready to send western tanks to Ukraine to aid it in liberating more territory from Russia. Every few seconds, explosions rip across the snow-covered slopes of Bakhmut and Soledar.
Sometimes in quick bursts of six or more brief blasts, other times deep and protracted and rib-cage-rattling. Then follow the far-off booms, the shorter punch of a mortar round exploding off on the side of the road, and, every so often, the fizzing whoosh, bone-chilling, of an incoming artillery round that sends us running for shelter on the icy fields.
Vlad, a different crew member, emerged from a neighboring fox hole where he was huddling over a new fire to assist. A flash of orange flashed as a US-supplied tank round tore out of the gun barrel and headed toward Russian troops on the other hillside. It also results in a skull-shaking explosion seconds later that resonates across the valley and towards Bakhmut.
Bogdan, a 55-year-old Ukrainian volunteer, turned to pat the enormous, squat, Soviet-era vehicle behind him. T-72s are ancient western tanks – this one’s the same age as him. He can’t believe that he’s doing it again. He also used to drive one of these over 40 years ago. However, a Leopard is better. Ukrainian soldiers recently suffered multiple casualties in the vicinity of Bakhmut.
He also reportedly welcomed plans to send German Leopard and British Challenger tanks to the front lines in the Donbas. Significant losses occurred. It is very nasty. A difficulty, “Danylo, a 24th Mechanized Brigade officer in charge of tank maintenance, explained. He said the situation would not change unless a significant detachment of foreign tanks arrived.