Biden announces U.S. will send 31 Abrams tanks to Ukraine


President Joe Biden announced Wednesday. That the United States is sending 31 Abrams tanks to Ukraine to fight Russia.

The US will also provide the training and supplies needed to operate and operate these tanks, he said.

Sending the tanks will “increase Ukraine’s ability to defend its territory. And achieve its strategic objectives” because they are “the most capable tanks in the world,” Biden said.

“That’s what it’s all about – helping Ukraine defend and protect Ukrainian land. It’s not an aggressive threat to Russia. There’s no aggressive threat to Russia,” the president said.

During a background call previewing Biden’s remarks. Senior administration officials said the announcement was “a continuation. Our efforts to provide Ukraine with the capabilities it needs to better defend itself.”

“And that’s consistent with representing a long-term, long-term commitment. That we have to Ukraine’s defense needs,” a senior administration official said.

In his remarks announcing the move, Biden emphasized. That 31 M1 Abrams tanks are the equal of a Ukrainian tank battalion.

U.S. It will also provide a training program for the maintenance. And operation of the tanks, as well as eight M88 recovery vehicles. That will go with the Abrams tanks that will “provide recovery operations to ensure that. The Ukrainians are able to keep these Abrams up and running,” a senior administration official said.

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

Biden said it will “take time” to deliver the tanks to the fields. Which the U.S. will use to ensure “the Ukrainians are prepared to integrate Abrams tanks into their defenses.

The president said the announcement was “coordinated” with allies. As he praised German Chancellor Olaf Scholz for leading efforts to provide German Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine. And organize a European contribution of two tank battalions to support the country. Biden’s announcement was linked to news of Scholes’ move.

Biden praised the UK, 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 Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. we remain as united and determined as ever in our convictions and our cause,” he said. “These tanks are further proof of our permanent, unwavering commitment to Ukraine. and our confidence in the capabilities of the Ukrainian forces.”

A senior official said the decision to send the tanks came. After “continuous diplomatic conversations. Over the past few weeks with European allies and partners, including Germany.

“President Biden has spoken or has spoken with Chancellor Scholz several times. This month to coordinate security help to Ukraine, including the joint announcement. We made several weeks ago of the provision of Patriot [missiles] and other help.” said

The president’s announcement came after a call with Germany’s Scholz. Along with French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. To continue discussions on helping Ukraine.

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

A Downing Street spokesman said in a statement on Wednesday. That “decisive, collective action will be a catalyst for other countries to follow. The prime minister said it was now clear that Russia was on the backfoot. And 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.”

The decision is a reversal for the Biden administration. Which has resisted German pressure to send tanks to Ukraine. US officials had before insisted. That Biden was not interested in delivering the Abrams tank. Because members of his national security team, including Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. And Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Mark Milley, did not believe they would be a net positive for the tank. Given how difficult Ukrainians find them to operate and maintain.

Asked by NBC News’ Andrea Mitchell on a background call what changed in recent days. And weeks to make the decision to send the U.S. tanks. A senior official said the administration is trying “to do everything we can to develop our capabilities. Ukraine is making war on itself.”

“And we’re all looking at what’s happening now.

And what we expect to happen in the future, especially in the Donbass area. The kind of capability that Ukraine needs is the ability to operate integrated weapons. The ability to fight in open terrain, especially and armored capability. A key part of it,” said a senior administration official.

During his announcement, Biden denied that Germany had forced his hand to send tanks to Ukraine.

“Germany didn’t make me change my mind. We wanted to make sure we were all together. This is what we were going to do all along,” the president said.

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