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Biden says US will send 31 Abrams tanks to Ukraine to significantly boost firepower

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Washington — President Biden announced Wednesday that the United States will send the top 31. M-1 Abrams tank This is in response to an important request from Kyiv and will significantly increase Ukraine’s firepower over the coming months.

“Today, the United States is announcing that it will send 31 Abrams tanks to Ukraine,” Biden said at the White House, flanked by Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. According to the Pentagon, this security his package is worth about $400 million.

The move comes after Germany said it would Deliver quickly Biden has exported 14 of his own Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, allowing Western partners to re-export their tanks. France, Britain, Finland, the Netherlands and others are also sending major security assistance, Biden said, stressing that the US move is part of a concerted effort by its Western allies.

“Today’s announcement builds on the hard work and commitment of the United States and other countries around the world to help Ukraine defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Biden said. “That’s what Ukraine will do to help protect and defend the Ukrainian land. It is not an offensive threat to Russia. There is no offensive threat to Russia. If Russian troops return to Russia … they This war will end today if it belongs to.”

Given the time required to procure the Abrams tanks and train the Ukrainian army, the delivery will take several months.

A US M-1 Abrams tank fires during a NATO exercise in Latvia on March 26, 2021.
A US M-1 Abrams tank fires during a NATO exercise in Latvia on March 26, 2021.

INTS KALNINS / Reuters


In a call with reporters previewing the president’s announcement, senior government officials said the decision to provide the tanks was “a continuation of our efforts to provide Ukraine with the capabilities it needs to continue to strengthen its self-defence.” said. Biden followed up his remarks Wednesday morning by meeting with leaders of France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom.

The M-1 Abrams is the U.S. main battle tank system and “the most capable tank in the world,” Biden said. Ukrainian officials are pleading with Western allies to provide tanks to step up a spring counterattack aimed at recapturing Russian trenches. The United States and her more than 50 other nations pledged to provide about 500 other armored vehicles at talks last week.

Since 2014, Abrams tanks and other armored vehicles have been used by Ukraine against Russia in open terrain, such as those found in the mostly flat Donbass region, where heavy fighting between Ukraine and the Russian-backed separatists has been seen. is the key to helping combat

U.S. officials argued that diesel-powered Leopard tanks would be better suited to meet the immediate needs of Ukrainians on the battlefield, as opposed to the jet fuel needed to power Abrams tanks. and resisted for weeks to arm the Ukrainians with Abrams tanks. pressure The supply of advanced tank systems to Kyiv from other allies, especially Poland and the Baltics, and from the Ukrainians themselves had been increasing for several weeks.

A U.S. official on Wednesday’s conference call said the tanks would help defend Ukraine against an expected Russian attack in the spring and help Ukrainian forces regain territory.

“We want to make sure they have the right capabilities not only to defend themselves against the Russian onslaught, but also the ability to retake their sovereign territories, including Crimea, although the weather will improve.” said the official.

The US announcement happened to coincide with the birthday of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. He told a German television network on Tuesday that tanks from Western allies would provide a much-needed morale boost to frontline soldiers.

“They do only one very important thing. They motivate our soldiers to fight for their own worth. Because they show that the whole world is with you.” am.

Tanks do not come directly from the US arsenal. The administration will instead use funds from the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative to procure the system. This decision, coupled with the extensive training required to operate the tank, means it will take some time before the vehicle reaches Ukrainian hands.

“We’re talking months, not weeks,” said one senior government official.

“[The Pentagon] Mechanisms are currently being worked out for Ukraine to provide the necessary fuel and equipment to operate and maintain Abrams,” another official added. Use it on the battlefield in the coming weeks and months. ”

David Martin, Eleanor Watson, and Hayley Ott contributed to the report.

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Written by Natalia Chi

Chicago Popular; Chicago breaking news, weather and live video. Covering local politics, health, traffic and sports for Chicago, the suburbs and northwest Indiana.

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