I’m trying to reconcile the two different stories we are presented: Russia is pulling out its museum pieces to fight in Ukraine, but it is also imperative that the Ukrainians receive modern Western tanks?
I don’t see how they can be congruent, unless there is some nuance behind the stories like the Russians using them for patrols in occupied territory (a tank is probably better than no tank) or something.
The Ukranians aren't going to need western stuff in numbers to fight Russian tanks. It is going to need them IF Ukraine is going to have a real shot at breaking through static Russian defensive lines
, into open ground, and then ideally quickly roll up large tracts of Russian occupied territory.
Of course, if the Russians then have available equally mobile tank reserves, there might be rather spectacular tank war going down. But we haven't really seen the makings of that kind of things so far. The Russians haven't shown themselves very good at armored manouvre warfare since the opening months of the war (when the Ukranians still largely managed to counter them in the end). The Ukranians have looked promising, but been aided by surprise, through a certain Russian underestimation and lack of preparation, which cannot be taken for granted. So the Ukranians have things to prove, even if then can put together the kind of armored forces they have a mind to (upwards of 20 brigades worth).