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US, on the contrary, prepares to send Abrams tanks to Ukraine

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Conversely, the Biden administration is ready to approve sending M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, a US official said on Tuesday. It may take months or years.

A U.S. official said details were still under consideration. An official said the tanks will be purchased under the upcoming Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative package, which provides longer-term funding for weapons and equipment purchases from commercial vendors.

The U.S. announcement is expected to come in tandem with Germany’s announcement that it will approve Poland’s request to transfer German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, according to one official. The people spoke on condition of anonymity because the decision has not yet been made public.

By agreeing to send Abrams at an as-yet-unspecified time under the Assistance Initiative, the administration is responding to German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s request for American involvement without immediately sending tanks. I can answer.

Much of the aid sent so far in the war 11 months ago was through another program to use Pentagon stockpiles to deliver weapons to Ukraine more quickly. But even under that program. , it will take several months to deliver the tanks to Ukraine and train the Ukrainian army.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has called for a “just peace” over Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. “Do you know how many parents have lost sons and daughters on the front lines?” Zelensky said. “Then what is just peace to them?”

The number of approved tanks is unknown.

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 sending German leopards is more productive because many allies have German leopards and the Ukrainian military requires less training than the more difficult Abrams.

Just last week, Colin Carle, Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, told reporters that Abrams was complex, expensive, difficult to maintain and hard to equip and train. One of the things that Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has been very committed to is that he “shouldn’t deliver a system that Ukrainians can’t repair, can’t maintain, and can’t maintain in the long run. It’s useless, so you can afford it.

A U.S. official familiar with the White House thinking said the administration’s initial hesitation was based on concerns about necessary training and tank maintenance. The official said the administration believes such plans are now being implemented, but added that it could take time to implement them.

At the Pentagon, spokesman Brig. General Pat Ryder said he had nothing to announce about the U.S. decision regarding Abrams tanks. But he said, “Whenever we have provided Ukraine with some kind of system, we have used it to provide training and maintenance capabilities.”

A coalition of more than 50 senior defense officials from Europe and elsewhere met in Germany to discuss the need for war in Ukraine, and just days after tanks became a major topic, regime change also loomed large. was dropped.

Ukrainian leaders have urgently demanded tanks, but Germany will either supply its own tanks or pave the way for other countries like Poland to send German tanks from their own stocks. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the Western deployment of tanks would have “clearly negative” consequences.

The defense leaders of the country that owns the Leopard 2 tank reached an agreement after meeting with the German military at a conference at Ramstein Air Base on Friday.

On Sunday, Berlin indicated that it would not be a hindrance if other countries wanted to send Leopard 2 tanks to Kyiv. Germany should agree to provide tanks to Ukraine, which is not a member of NATO.

U.S. and German officials have given mixed indications as to whether the U.S. and German decisions are related, and whether Berlin is reluctant to send tanks unless the U.S. sends Abrams. .

Poland’s Defense Minister Marius Blaszczak said on Tuesday that Poland has formally requested permission from Germany to transfer its Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine.

A German official confirmed to the DPA news agency that it had received the application and said it would be evaluated “with due urgency”. German Foreign Minister Annalena Beerbock said on Sunday that Berlin would not stop Poland from supplying Kyiv with high-tech weapons.

German officials declined to comment on reports of the tank deal. Newsweekly Der Spiegel reported on Tuesday, without citing a source, that Germany would provide Ukraine with at least one company of Leopard 2 tanks from its own army stocks. Scholz is scheduled to address Congress on Wednesday and submit field questions from lawmakers, many of whom are pressuring the government to join its allies in providing tanks to Ukraine.

Members of Congress have also pressured the United States to step up aid to Ukraine.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said on Tuesday that it was “over time” for the Biden administration and allies to send more military aid to Ukraine, and that the United States is committing more to helping Ukraine “win this war.” He said he had to provide more tanks and weapons.

“It is time for the Biden administration and our allies to seriously help Ukraine finish the job and take back the country.”

The likely plan to send Abrams was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

____ Associated Press writers Tara Kopp, Kevin Flecking, and Amar Madani contributed to this 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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