A contingent of tanks from the United States and Germany is headed to war-torn Ukraine, a decision that comes as welcome news to the Ukrainian people.

“The recent announcement from Germany and the United States that they’ll be supplying the tanks to Ukraine, that’s very hopeful," said Rochester’s honorary consul of Ukraine, Oleg Lebedko.

What You Need To Know

  • Ukrainian community thankful for U.S. & German tanks

  • A leader of Rochester’s Ukrainian community, says the decision by the United States to send 31 M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine is a step in the right direction

  • Ukrainians are hopeful more countries will follow suit

Lebedko, a leader of Rochester’s Ukrainian community, one of the largest in the country, says the decision by the United States to send 31 M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine is a solid step in the right direction.

“I know that the Ukrainian government is still very thankful to the U.S. government for making this first step and for motivating other countries like Germany. I know they’ve been in discussion for months whether to do this or not and I think they were waiting for this first step from the United States to make the decision on their tanks.”

Lebedko talks about the tanks from the U.S. and the 14 Leopard 2 tanks from Germany being sent to Ukraine.

“Those numbers are not sufficient to change the course of war… Military experts I follow mention that 300 tanks will change the course of war," Lebedko. "For now, I think there is a commitment for about 100 tanks from all different countries, but still, it’s very useful to have those tanks because right now it looks like both sides, Russian and Ukraine, are planning offensive campaigns in the next couple of weeks or months. So those tanks will be very instrumental in repealing Russian aggression and recapturing the occupied territories.”

With a war that has now dragged on for nearly a year and no end in sight, Ukrainians will take all the help they can get.

"People in Ukraine are thankful for the leadership of the American government in providing weapons and diplomatic support also for Ukraine and talking to all other countries, especially in Europe, about the need for weapons in Ukraine," Lebedko. "So I know that they were thankful to the people of the United States and to the government of the United States for the assistance."

This – after thousands of people in Lebedko’s homeland have been killed – a country of people remain hopeful and thankful.

“Hopefully this is just a first step and other countries will follow,” he said.