Swietoszow, Poland
The Sunday Review

Vadym Khandak beams, and leans forward. He’s almost bouncing on his feet. “My soldiers like it a lot,” He says: a Pay tribute to the Polish Line Leopard 2 Version 4 tanks He is behind you. “This machine is good quality.”

He smiles with deep, expressive furrows. a His face is etched with the memories of a year spent in front-line fighting. “I’m 57,” He says. “I’m a former tank driver and I volunteered to fight the day Russia invaded.”

This was close to the truth. a An year ago.

Now he’s an army major and leading Ukraine’s new tank training in Western Poland. The new is first in the hands of his troops Leopard 2 tanks NATO allies spent several months debating the matter before agreeing to it. in Ukraine will be given January

So far, Khodak’s crews are learning shooting skills on simulators and combat driving. The 60-ton crane plunges through smoke plumes. tanks The soft forest dirt is a good place to work. Poland’s main tank range, in Swietoszow near the German frontier.

Stored away in a nearby airy modern hangar are simulators where the 21 crews on the training mission can learn how to use the machines’ highly effective sighting, target seeking and killer gun capabilities. Kyiv’s hope is that the weapons will deliver a You can punch the Russian forces to regain lost territory.

Poland he has led the charge in mobilizing NATO to make Ukraine a modern battleground tanks It is currently leading the way in training. Germany started Monday Poland started a Week ago

On Monday, we will be at the site to check on progress. Poland’s President Andrzej Duda thanked allies for stepping up.

“We have a positive response from the allies, not only about Leopards, but the British side offers Challengers. Our neighbors Germany, the manufacturer of Leopard tanks, also joined us. We would like to thank the German side for deciding to join this action,” Duda stated.

Poland’s defense chief Mariusz Błaszczak laid out how allies will divide the huge task of building Ukraine’s tank force. “I made an agreement with my counterpart, the German Minister Boris Pistorius, that the Polish side will focus on building a coalition of countries that have Leopard 2 A4 tanks, Germany will build a coalition of countries that have Leopard 2 A6 tanks,” Błaszczak said.

Duda had also a message for US President Joe Biden Poland Next week. Biden was asked by him to go American. tanks Ukraine quickly so they “can counter the Russian offensive.” Although the US claims it will send 31 Abrams aircraft, senior officials in the administration said otherwise. in It will be months before they arrive in January.

Be concerned in Poland run deep that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s territorial ambitions won’t end at Ukraine’s western border. Many older people are still very much aware of the Cold War.

According to Poland’s chief tank trainer, Brigadier Krzysztof Sieradzki, teaching has been a It is a great success. “Compared to Polish soldiers, we don’t need to motivate them,” He stated that Ukrainian crews. “When they get in the tank, they [are] very surprised at how big it is.”

Khodak says that the majority of the 105 Ukrainians in his command at Swietoszow have had previous experience with tanks on the Soviet-era T-72. “My soldiers already have a lot of experience on the front, therefore I think that teaching them on these tanks will be a lot easier,” Khodak said.

These trainers can be combined from Canada, Norway and Poland. in a race against time. The troops can barely be spared from the front and are needed back as soon as possible to counter Russia’s impending offensive.

Sieradzki claimed that troops are trained for an average of eight hours. a Every day from Monday to Friday “The Ukrainian soldiers are trained for 12 hours a day from Monday to Saturday,” He added that they’ll be there in a month. NATO’s standard for crew familiarization a It takes two to three months to build a tank. Danish commanders estimate that it could take two years to get them trained for work with other tank teams and infantry.

Sieradzki stated that the irony of this is that Ukrainians seem almost too excited. “We need to try and hold them back … [but] they want to know everything straight away.” You must teach them “systematically and slowly,” He said.


Ukrainian and Polish soldiers sit on top of a Leopard 2 tank during at a military base in Swietoszow, Poland,

Khodak said his 105 troops – including 21 tank crews and support staff – were rushed to Poland from Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions with just two days’ notice on February 4.

No one is saying they’ve left a Hole in The frontline, however Khodak is not asking for more time. “I think that the training time will be enough for us to get to grips with the technology,” He said.

Sieradzki said that, despite the rush, he’ll make sure the Ukrainian troops don’t leave until they are ready.

It is possible to imagine the past at this distant tank range in The making. NATO keeps its word and is making good on its promises, helping to lay the foundations for a Fully modernized NATO-compatible Ukrainian army.