Leopard 2 or Abrams tanks, according to the assessment, cannot withstand Russian anti-tank missiles.
If they were destroyed in Ukraine, it would cause a great loss to NATO’s reputation. The American magazine Military Watch said that it is unlikely that NATO will provide Leopard 2 or Abrams tanks with the highest combat features to the Ukrainian armed forces in the near future.
The main factors impeding the plan, for example, are the weakening of NATO member states’ combat readiness, and do not open up real prospects for the strengthening of the Ukrainian Army on the battlefield. Accordingly, tanks are among the easier pieces of equipment to capture due to their frontline roles, as opposed to artillery or aircraft which can still contribute to operations when based far behind friendly lines. The Abrams or Leopard II could thus both provide valuable intelligence to the Russian Military should even a single vehicle be captured, which remains a very significant possibility should they enter the war.
Military Watch specifically emphasizes the fact that the use of the most famous Western tanks in previous wars against terrorism in the Middle East has raised great doubts about their effectiveness. In 2016 Turkish Army Leopard IIs in Al Bab in Syria’s Aleppo governate faced humiliating losses in combat to Islamic State weapons that were far from state of the art, with British media reporting that the tank showed “numerous faults exposed in lethal fashion.”
Against the Russian Military serious losses by Leopard II and Abrams tanks, particularly against Russia’s own armour, would be a major embarrassment that could seriously reduce foreign interest in acquiring the designs. With both tanks being produced primarily for export, this would be particularly unfavourable as both face stringent competition particularly from more modern South Korean vehicles. The fact that export variants of the Abrams for Ukraine are unlikely to integrate depleted uranium armour or shells would further seriously limit their ability to engage Russian armour.
And above all there is the issue of price. Even older versions of the Leopards and Abrams tanks are much more expensive than any armored vehicles that have been delivered to the Ukrainian Army from NATO countries. Neither are manufactured on a large scale, meaning they would need to be drawn from reserve units which could cost billions to replenish.
Finally, Western tanks are not compatible with the fleet of tanks already in the Ukrainian armed forces. Having to supply ammunition of different calibers complicates logistics. In addition, Western tanks, unlike Russian and Soviet tanks, are too heavy to use civilian infrastructure in place such as bridges and roads, which would limit the usefulness of the Abrams or the Leopard II in the Ukrainian Army compared to more T-72s
In conclusion, military experts note that among NATO countries, Spain, the Netherlands, Norway and Greece, so far, none have filed for permission from Germany to supply them to Ukraine nor have Abrams operators shown any greater inclination to supply modern armour. Faced with this fact, the Ukrainian Army may only receive outdated NATO tanks like the Lepopard 1A5, or Soviet-era tanks like the T-72 and T-80.