The Biden administration is finalizing plans to send U.S.-made Abrams tanks to Ukraine and could announce them as soon as this week, according to three U.S. officials familiar with the discussions.
Officials said the timing of the actual delivery of the tanks is still unclear and it usually takes several months to train troops to use the tanks effectively.
The announcement of the tanks may be part of an effort to break a diplomatic deadlock with Germany, which signaled to the US last week that it would not send its tanks. Leopard Tanks Ukraine unless the US agrees to send its M1 Abrams tanks.
Top national security officials in the administration are actively considering steps they can take to convince Germany to send the Leopards.
On Friday, at a meeting of Western defense leaders in Germany, the US and its allies failed to convince German officials to send the Leopards as part of Berlin’s next round of military aid to Ukraine. But on Tuesday, German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said “we are preparing our decision, which will come very soon” on the tanks.
It was Sky News Arabia. First to report The news is that the US is considering sending tanks.
The administration has never taken the possibility of taking U.S. tanks off the table entirely, but U.S. officials said publicly last week that now is not the right time to send the 70-ton M1 Abrams tanks because they are expensive and They need special training. to drive.
Instead, tanks have repeatedly been pitched as a long-term option — even critics say now is the right time, as Ukraine prepares for the possibility that Russia will mobilize more troops and a New will attack.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has repeatedly asked Western allies for advanced tanks as his country braces for a major Russian counteroffensive expected in the spring.
Britain has already announced it will send 12 of its Challenger 2 tanks to Ukraine, previously seen as a red line for the US and its European allies. A US announcement that it is sending tanks will increase pressure on Germany as it decides whether to allow the transfer of the Leopards. There are believed to be around 2,000 in Europe. Poland formally asked Berlin on Tuesday To approve the transfer of some of its leopards to Ukraine.
Given last week’s announcement of a $2.5 billion withdrawal of US stocks to ship to Ukraine, the announcement is unlikely to be another drawdown. Instead, the supply of tanks to Ukraine could come from a new contract under the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI) or the renewal of M-1 Abrams tanks from another country, such as Poland, which recently closed a deal to buy more Abrams. have done. He was vocal in his insistence on sending tanks to Ukraine.
Either scenario gives Ukraine more time and space to acquire, train, and equip tanks that are complex to operate. Ukrainian forces are already training on several new and advanced systems. The list includes training on Patriot missiles, British-made Challenger 2 tanks, M109 howitzers and more, as well as the combined arms training that recently began in Germany.
The tanks represent the most powerful direct offensive weapon ever delivered to Ukraine, a heavily armored system designed to engage the enemy’s head rather than shoot it from a distance. If used properly with the necessary training, they could allow Ukraine to retake territory against Russian forces that have had time to dig in defensive lines. The US has begun taking delivery of new Soviet-era T-72 tanks, but modern Western tanks are a generation ahead in terms of their ability to hit enemy positions.
Pentagon and White House officials have denied that the threat of tensions with Russia had anything to do with the US decision to delay the decision to send the tanks. Rather, the concern has been how difficult it would be for Ukrainian forces to operate and maintain the Abrams tank and whether it would be effective on the battlefield in Ukraine.