In reversal, US poised to approve Abrams tanks for Ukraine

WASHINGTON: In the event of a reversal, the Biden administration is ready to approve sending M1 Abrams tank To Ukraine, as the international reluctance to send tanks to the front against the Russians began to erode, US officials said. The decision to send more than 30 tanks could be announced as soon as Wednesday, although it could take several months for the tanks to be delivered.
US officials said the details were still being worked out. The tanks will be purchased under the upcoming Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative package, which provides longer-range funding for weapons and equipment purchased from commercial suppliers, an official said.
The US announcement is expected to coordinate with Germany’s announcement that it will approve Poland’s request to deliver the German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, according to an official. Officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the decision has yet to be made public.
By agreeing to send Abrams At an unspecified time under the support initiative, the administration could respond to German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s request for an American commitment without having to immediately send in tanks.
Much of the aid sent so far in the 11-month war has been through a separate program based on the Pentagon’s stockpile to move weapons to Ukraine more quickly. But even under that program, it would take months to bring tanks to Ukraine and train Ukrainian forces on them. On Tuesday, it remained unclear when the United States would begin training Ukrainian troops on the Abrams and how long they could be on the battlefield.
Up until now, the US has remained opposed to supplying its own M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, citing the extensive and complex logistics and maintenance challenges posed by the high-tech vehicles. Washington believes it will be more effective to send German Newspapers because many allies have them and the Ukrainian military will need less training than the tougher Abrams.
Just last week, Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl told reporters that the Abrams was a complex, expensive, difficult to maintain and trainable piece of equipment. One thing Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has been very focused on, he said, “is that we shouldn’t give Ukraine systems that they can’t repair, they can’t maintain, and in the long run, they can’t. afford it, because it’s not useful.
A US official familiar with White House thinking said the administration’s initial hesitation was based on concerns about the training needed and the tanks’ ability to keep them operational. The official added that the administration believes such plans are now in the works, but it may take time to implement them.
At the Pentagon, spokesman Brigadier General Pat Ryder said he had nothing to say about any US decision regarding Abrams tanks. But he said, “whenever we provided Ukraine with some kind of system, we provided the ability to train and maintain that system.”
The reversal of administration comes just days after a coalition of more than 50 senior defense officials from Europe and beyond met in Germany to discuss Ukraine’s war needs, and tanks. Combat is the main theme.
Ukraine’s leaders urgently demanded tanks, but Germany resisted growing pressure to supply its own tanks or clear the way for other countries, such as Poland, to send tanks. German-made from their stockpile. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the deployment of Western tanks would have “clearly negative” consequences.
Defense leaders from countries with Leopard 2 tanks met the Germans during Friday’s conference at Ramstein Air Base in an effort to strike a deal.
On Sunday, Berlin said it would not stand in the way if other countries wanted to send Leopard 2 tanks to Kiev. Germany needs to agree to hand over tanks to Ukraine, which is not a member of NATO.
U.S. and German officials have given mixed signals as to whether U.S. and German decisions are related and whether Berlin will be hesitant to send in its tanks unless the U.S. sends Abrams or not.
Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said on Tuesday that Poland has formally asked Germany for permission to transfer Leopard 2 battle tanks to Ukraine.
German officials confirmed to the dpa news agency that they had received the application and said it would be evaluated “with appropriate urgency”. German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said on Sunday that Berlin would not seek to prevent Poland from supplying Kiev with high-tech armor.
German officials declined to comment on reports of a tank deal. The weekly Der Spiegel reported on Tuesday, without citing sources, that Germany would supply Ukraine with at least one company of Leopard 2 tanks from the country’s military depot. A company consists of 15 tanks.
Scholz is scheduled to give a speech to parliament on Wednesday and field questions from lawmakers, many of whom have urged the government to join allies in providing tanks. for Ukraine.
Lawmakers in Congress have also pushed for the United States to increase aid to Ukraine.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday said “it’s time, time” for the Biden administration and its allies to send more military aid to Ukraine, and that the United States must provide more vehicles tanks and weapons to help Ukraine “win this war”.
“It’s time, it’s time for the Biden administration and our allies to get serious about helping Ukraine get the job done and take back their country.”
The likely plans to send Abrams were first reported by The Wall Street Journal.


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