Despite German efforts to pressure. The United States to deliver Abrams tanks to Ukraine. Top Pentagon leaders are against sending them, three U.S. officials said.
The German government has indicated that it may send.
Its own Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine if the US also agrees to send Ukraine M1 Abrams. With Chancellor Olaf Scholz insisting that Germany would only act in concert with allies.
Three U.S. officials said Berlin had tried to keep the U.S. on the spot about sending the Abrams tanks. And there was frustration between the Biden administration and Germany. German pressure is not working, officials insist.
At the same time, officials said President Joe Biden would not push Germany to send Leopard tanks to Ukraine.
Asked Friday about sending Abrams tanks to Ukraine, Biden was noncommittal. “Ukraine will get all the help they need,” he said.
But Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. And Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen.
Mark Milley have both recommended. Against sending M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, three U.S. officials said.
Millie and Austin noted how much time it takes to train staff to operate the tanks. And how difficult it is to maintain the tanks. According to officials, they argue that they are not the right vehicle for the fight in Ukraine right now.
A US official said Austin argued that training to operate. And maintain the tanks would take months, and that although. The Ukrainians had proven adept at learning many new platforms. He continued to resist sending the Abrams.
The two US officials also noted that Ukraine already has hundreds of tanks. And has captured hundreds of Russian tanks on the battlefield over the past year. And added them to its inventory.
Pentagon Press Secretary Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder declined to comment on Austin.
And Milley’s views on the matter, saying in a statement. That their comments at Ramstein Air Base in Germany about U.S. tanks “speak for themselves. We’re not going to elaborate.”
Austin hosted the Ukraine Contact Group in Ramstein. A meeting of 50 countries to discuss aid and contributions to Ukraine.
During public comments Friday, Austin appeared to signal. What U.S. officials have said is his position. That he does not see the tanks as critical to the current fight in Ukraine. And that they cannot be brought on the line right away.
Austin deflected a question about tanks by saying, “What we’re focusing. On is making sure Ukraine has the capabilities it needs to be successful right now.”
“We have a window of opportunity here. You know, between now and the spring. When I, you know, whenever they start their raids, their counterattacks. And it’s not a long time. And we need to assemble the right capabilities.”
At the end of the meeting on Friday, the Germans did not announce that they would send Leopard tanks to Ukraine.
Ukrainian military leaders say they need 300 tanks to break through Russian defenses.
“We need tanks to defeat the Russian Federation.” Said Oleksiy Danilov, secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council. “The truth is that any weapons that are needed are determined by the military. It is the military that insists that tanks and heavy artillery are crucial today.”
Danilov said that Ukrainian soldiers will learn to “master.” The use of the new tanks “in a month, because we are in a state of war. … [W]e learn very any equipment that helps us destroy the enemy.”
“As soon as the decision is made and the tanks are delivered. We will train very and believe me, they will be used with the incredible power of this or that weapon. We have already proved it many times.”
Mykhailo Podoliak, a senior adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
On Saturday urged Kiev’s allies to “think ” about increasing their military support.
“You will help Ukraine anyway with the necessary weapons. And understand that Russia has no choice but to end the war,” he wrote on Twitter. “But today’s indecisiveness is killing more of us. Every day of delay is the death of Ukrainians. Think fast.”
Stryker, Bradleys, MRAP
Besides to Millie and Austin, others in the US government are also adamant about not sending the Abrams tank.
A National Security Council spokesman echoed concerns that US officials have voiced. Saying the Abrams tanks are “too expensive to run, too expensive to fuel, too expensive to maintain. And must a lot of training.”