The U.S. will send 31 M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, a senior administration official said Wednesday, reversing months of claims by the Biden administration that tanks are too difficult for the Ukrainian military to operate and maintain.
The US decision came shortly after Germany agreed to send 14 Leopard 2 A6 tanks from its own stocks. Germany has said the Leopards will not be dispatched unless the US puts Abrams on the table, and hopes to provoke the ire of Russia unless the US similarly throws in its own tanks and shares the risk of a backlash from Moscow. Absent.
Since then, the two countries have engaged in “good diplomatic conversations” that have made a difference, and since Russia invaded Ukraine 11 months ago, there has been an “extraordinary change in German security policy” over arms provision to Ukraine. Some were, a senior government official said. It told reporters Wednesday on condition of anonymity describing the new tank package ahead of its announcement.
The $400 million package announced Wednesday also includes eight M88 recovery vehicles. This is a tank-like tracked vehicle that can tow Abrams if stuck.
Overall, France, Britain, the United States, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, and Sweden are all set to shore up their numbers to strengthen Ukraine as it enters a new phase of the war and attempts to break through the established Russian front. Dispatch 100 tanks and heavy armored vehicles.
But there was little answer as to how U.S. tanks would be sent. Either it will be stripped and retrofitted from her existing stockpile of more than 4,000 Abrams vehicles, or the US may use the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative to buy new systems and backfill its allies. Send your own system for Ukraine or buy a completely new system.
Either way, using the Aid Initiative funding route means that although Abrams was promised to Ukraine, it will likely be many months before the tanks actually hit the battlefield, and Russia’s projected It means that you will not be in time for the spring attack.
Russian Ambassador to Germany Sergei Nechayev on Wednesday called Berlin’s decision to send Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine “extremely dangerous”.
In an online statement, Nechaev said the move “shifts the conflict to a new level of confrontation and contradicts statements by German politicians who are reluctant to engage in it.”
“Germany and its closest allies have no interest in a diplomatic solution to the Ukrainian crisis and are determined to escalate it permanently and to indefinitely inflict new deadly weapons on the Kyiv regime,” the statement said. read.
So far, the US has resisted providing its own M1 Abrams tank to Ukraine. This is attributed to the large and complex maintenance and logistical challenges associated with high-tech vehicles. Washington believes it would be more productive for many allies to send German Leopards, and the Ukrainian military requires less training than the more difficult Abrams.
Just last week, Undersecretary of Defense Colin Carr told reporters that Abrams was complex, expensive, difficult to maintain and difficult to equip and train. One of the things is that “Ukrainians shouldn’t give us a system that can’t be repaired, can’t be maintained, and can’t be maintained in the long run. It’s useless, so we can afford it.”
In order for Abrams to be effective in Ukraine, his unit must be trained in combined arms operations, how tanks work together on the battlefield, and how to maintain and support a complex 70-ton weapon. Requires extensive training. The Abrams Tank uses a turbine jet engine to burn at least 2 gallons per mile, whether moving or idling. That means you need a network of fuel trucks to keep the line moving.
Frank Jordan of Berlin contributed to this report.