Biden announces that the United States will send 31 Abrams tanks to Ukraine


The training will not take place in Ukraine, a senior administration official added.

Biden said delivery of the tanks to the fields “will take time” which the United States will use to ensure “the Ukrainians are fully prepared to integrate the Abram tanks into their defenses.”

The president said the announcement was “closely coordinated” with the allies and praised German Chancellor Olaf Scholz for providing German Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine and leading an effort to organize a European contribution of two tank battalions to support the country. Biden’s announcement was coupled with news of Scholz’s move.

Biden also praised the United Kingdom, France, Poland, Italy, Canada, Slovakia, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Finland for donating “critical air defense systems to help secure Ukrainian skies and save the lives of innocent civilians.” “

“As we approach the one year mark with the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine, we remain united and determined as ever in our conviction and our cause,” he said. “These tanks are further proof of our longstanding and tireless commitment to Ukraine and our confidence in the ability of the Ukrainian forces.”

A senior official said the decision to send the tanks was made after “continuous diplomatic talks” over the past few weeks with European allies and partners, including Germany.

“President Biden will or has spoken with Chancellor Scholz several times this month to coordinate security assistance to Ukraine, including the joint announcement we made a couple of weeks ago at Patriot. [missiles] and other aid provisions,” the official said.

The president’s announcement comes after he held a call with Germany’s Scholz along with French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to continue talks on aid to Ukraine.

Sunak welcomed the Allies’ decisions to announce major battle tank contributions.

A Downing Street spokesman said in a statement on Wednesday that “collective and decisive action would be a catalyst for other countries to do the same. The prime minister said it was now clear that Russia was lagging behind and that there was a window for international partners to speed up efforts to secure a lasting peace for Ukraine. He called on allies to step up their support in the coming weeks and months.

Presidents Biden and Zelenskyy at the White House last year.Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images file

The decision is a setback for the Biden administration, which had resisted pressure from Germany to send the tanks to Ukraine. US officials previously insisted that Biden was unwilling to provide Abrams tanks because members of his national security team, including Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley, did not believe they would be a Net positive for the Ukrainians given how difficult they are to operate and maintain.

When NBC News’ Andrea Mitchell asked about the substantive call what had changed in recent days and weeks for the US to decide to send the tanks, a senior official said the administration has been trying “to do the best we can to develop the capacities that we have”. they are providing Ukraine with the war itself.”

“And I think we all look at what’s happening now and what we expect to happen in the future, particularly in the Donbas area, the kind of capabilities that Ukraine really needs are combined arms maneuver capabilities, the ability to fight effective in open terrain, particularly, and armored capabilities are a key part of that,” the senior administration official said.

During his announcement, Biden denied that Germany was forcing him to send tanks to Ukraine.

“Germany did not force me to change my mind. We wanted to make sure we were all together. That’s what we were going to do all along,” the president said.

courtney kube, moses wins Y Carol E. read contributed.

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