The US introduced on Wednesday it is going to provide Ukraine with 31 superior M1 Abrams tanks in a matter of months, a choice that helped break a diplomatic logjam with Germany over how greatest to assist Kyiv in its battle towards Russia.
President Joe Biden introduced the choice in remarks on the White Home, saying the tanks are wanted to assist the Ukrainians “enhance their capability to maneuver in open terrain.”
Biden thanked Germany for its determination to produce Ukraine with Leopard 2 tanks. “Germany has actually stepped up,” he mentioned.
“The expectation on the a part of Russia is we’re going to interrupt up,” Biden mentioned of the US and European allies. “However we’re absolutely, completely and totally united.”
The US had been cool to the concept of deploying the difficult-to-maintain Abrams tanks however needed to change tack with a view to persuade Germany to ship its extra simply used Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine.
Nonetheless, the Abrams — among the many strongest US tanks — is not going to be heading to Ukraine anytime quickly.
Senior administration officers who briefed reporters on the choice mentioned it is going to take months, not weeks, for the Abrams to be delivered and described the transfer when it comes to offering for Ukraine’s long-term protection.
Members of the Ukrainian navy will likely be skilled on utilizing the Abrams in a yet-to-be decided location. Whereas a extremely refined and costly weapon, the Abrams is troublesome to keep up and offers a logistical resupply problem as a result of it runs on jet gasoline.
The full price of a single Abrams tanks can fluctuate, and might be over $10 million per tanks when together with coaching and sustainment.
The selections by Washington and Berlin come because the Western allies assist Ukraine put together for a attainable spring counter-offensive to attempt to drive Russia out of territory it has seized.
“There isn’t a offensive risk to Russia,” Biden mentioned.
Senior administration officers mentioned Biden had spoken to German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on a number of events this month about help to Ukraine. He talked once more on Wednesday to Scholz in addition to to British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and French President Emmanuel Macron, each of whom are shut allies in serving to Ukraine.
“As we speak’s announcement actually was a product of excellent diplomatic conversations as a part of our common and ongoing shut consultations with allies and companions on safety help to Ukraine,” mentioned one official.
Extra bulletins from US allies on extra armored car functionality are anticipated, the official mentioned.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov mentioned any Abrams shipments could be a waste of cash as they “burn” like different tanks.
“I’m sure that many specialists perceive the absurdity of this concept. The plan is disastrous when it comes to know-how,” he mentioned. “However above all, it overestimates the potential it is going to add to the Ukrainian military. These tanks burn similar to all of the others,” Peskov instructed reporters.
A supply acquainted with the matter instructed Reuters on Tuesday the US determination on Abrams was a part of conversations with the Germans about their reluctance to offer tanks and to exhibit that the US dedication was important.
“The US was prepared to make a major dedication to help them in making theirs,” the supply mentioned. “The tanks are an essential functionality and if it took US management then that is what we had been prepared to do.”
The US will present the tanks by way of a fund generally known as the Ukraine Safety Help Initiative, which permits Biden’s administration to purchase weapons from business quite than taking them from present US weapons shares. Shopping for them is a slower course of.