The United States will send 31 « M1 Abrams » battle tanks to Ukraine

The US decision came shortly after Germany agreed to send 14 Leopard 2 A6 tanks from its own stocks. Berlin had said that the Leopards would not be sent unless Washington put its Abrams on the table, not wanting to incur Russia’s wrath without the United States similarly committing its own tanks.

Berlin and Washington have since participated in “good diplomatic conversations” that have made a difference and are part of the “extraordinary change in Germany’s security policy” regarding the supply of arms to Ukraine since the Russian invasion 11 months ago, said a senior administration official, who briefed reporters Wednesday on condition of anonymity to describe the new batch of tanks ahead of the announcement.

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The US$400 million US package announced on Wednesday also includes eight M88 recovery vehicles – tank-like tracked vehicles that can tow the Abrams.

In total, France, the United Kingdom, the United States, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden will send hundreds of tanks and heavy armored vehicles to reinforce Ukraine, while this country enters a new phase of the war and tries to break through the entrenched Russian lines.

Canada, which has 112 Leopard 2 tanks, has yet to announce its decision.

Little is known at this time about which US tanks would be sent – ​​whether they would be removed from the existing stockpile of over 4,000 Abrams tanks and upgraded, whether the US would use the United States Security Support Initiative. Ukraine to buy new systems to possibly rearm allies who will send their own systems, or whether Washington would buy new systems for Ukraine.

Either way, it will probably be several months before these American tanks actually hit the battlefield — and not in time for Moscow’s planned “Spring Offensive”.

FILE | War in Ukraine

Russian Ambassador to Germany Sergei Nechayev on Wednesday called Berlin’s decision to send Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine « extremely dangerous ».

Mr Nechayev argued in an online statement that the move “brought the conflict to a new level of confrontation and contradicted statements by German politicians about their reluctance to get involved”.

The United States had so far resisted supplying its own M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, citing significant and complex maintenance and logistical issues with these high-tech vehicles.

Washington argued that it would be more productive to send in German Leopards, as many allies have them and Ukrainian troops would need less training than on the Abrams.

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