When Russian and Ukrainian negotiators met in Istanbul to discuss a potential settlement on March 29th Alexander Fomin, Russia’s deputy defence minister, had something to offer. “In order to increase mutual trust and create the necessary conditions for further negotiations,” he said, Russia would “drastically reduce” operations around Kyiv and Chernihiv, a city 150km to the north.
Even if Ukraine were to get more tanks, though, they might not provide it with quite the advantage that is being looked for. Tanks remain necessary for some sorts of action. At the same time, as the past weeks have shown, they are increasingly vulnerable. “One thing that I'm taking away from this war is that, in land warfare, the defence remains all-powerful,” says Billy Fabian, a former infantry officer now at CNAS, an American think-tank.
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