Since the beginning of Russian aggression, Poland had been at the forefront of supplying arms to Ukraine. In a year and a half, Warsaw has delivered more than 300 T-72, PT-91 and Leopard 2A4 , as well as 14 Mig-29s and numerous armored vehicles and munitions of all types to Kyiv.
In fact, Poland was, for a long time, the most important supplier of heavy military equipment to support the Ukrainian armies, including in front of the United States, and has on several occasions played the role of spur to move Western lines. in terms of arms delivery.
Finally, Poland welcomed more than half of the 4 million Ukrainian refugees, and allowed a large number of Western military equipment to transit through its territory to reach Ukraine.
Poland in dry arms over arms delivery to Ukraine
However, this spectacular effort was made to the detriment of the Polish armies which, in certain areas, lost nearly 40% of their operational capabilities due to deliveries to Ukraine.
If Warsaw has been engaged for several months in an equally spectacular dynamic to modernize its armies, deliveries of new equipment will take several months to several years, a period during which Poland will be exposed and vulnerable, especially since it can hardly count on its European neighbors to reinforce its own defenses.
In addition, as readers of Meta-defense have known for many months, Moscow has undertaken, from the summer of 2022, to profoundly reform its own defense industry, and to transition the country into a real war economy.
In fact, whatever the conclusion of the Ukrainian conflict, the Russian armies will quickly be able to threaten Poland or the Baltic States on its borders.
The shock, but expected, announcement from Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki
There is therefore nothing really surprising in the statement by Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki regarding the cessation of Polish arms deliveries to Ukraine.
As for the context linked to the tensions between Kyiv on the one hand, Warsaw, Bratislava and Budapest on the other , over Ukrainian cereals, what is more in an exacerbated pre-electoral context in Poland, it will only have had the effect of 'a revealer of an otherwise inevitable and predictable situation.
As predictable as it was, this phenomenon of exhaustion of stocks of arms transferable to Ukraine was nevertheless not anticipated, neither by Warsaw, nor by the other European countries, which, too, are exposed to same limitations.
The consequences of the Russian war effort
This is how, after having delivered around a hundred modern Leopard 2 tanks, European deliveries now consist of Leopard 1 tanks dating from the late 1960s and early 1970s.
These have little to envy of the T-62 and T-55 released from stocks in Russia. However, they represent only a part of the tanks delivered to the Russian armies. Indeed, Russian arms factories are now operating at full capacity, at rates higher than those before the war.
Thus, the Uralvagonzavod tank factory in Nizhny Tagil, in the Sverdlovsk Oblast, in the Urals, now produces 200 to 400 tanks per year, depending on sources, mainly T-90Ms, but also T-80BVs. and T-72B3M, that is to say much more recent and efficient models than the Leopard 1 sent to Ukraine.
The mirage of arms factories in Ukraine
In an attempt to respond to the dangerous evolution of the balance of power that is emerging, Kyiv has undertaken, for several months, to negotiate with European manufacturers the construction of infrastructure allowing the production of this equipment in Ukraine .
This is how Rheinemtall has reportedly undertaken, for several weeks, the construction of a factory capable of assembling up to 400 heavy armored vehicles , combat tanks and infantry fighting vehicles per year.
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