25 Jan 2023 11:17 am
US President Joe Biden could officially authorize the delivery of US main battle tanks to Ukraine as early as Wednesday to be used in the conflict with Russia, unnamed US officials told Reuters.
The news agency Reuters reports that the US may soon announce a commitment to supply tanks to Kyiv. Biden’s government has reversed its decision not to provide battle tanks, said two interviewees who wished to remain anonymous. Accordingly, a commitment could already be made on Wednesday. A third source familiar with the matter said there were around 30 Abrams tanks to be delivered in the coming months.
The shipments are likely to be funded with funds from the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI) funding program, which allows the US government to buy weapons directly from the defense industry while leaving existing US military stockpiles untouched.
Shortly before, it had become known that the federal government wanted to deliver German Leopard main battle tanks to Ukraine after weeks of back and forth. Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock stressed on Sunday that Germany would not oppose the delivery of Leopard main battle tanks from other countries to Ukraine. Earlier, Germany had refused to send its tanks to Ukraine, despite pressure from allies, and insisted Washington should do the same.
Publicly, the US continues to insist that the M1 Abrams is not the best solution to the conflict in Ukraine, as maintaining the tanks is a challenge. “It was like that yesterday, it’s like this today, and it will be like that in the future,” Defense Department spokesman Pat Ryder said on Tuesday evening in Washington. When it comes to military equipment, it must be ensured that the Ukrainian military is able to service, maintain and train with it.
White House spokeswoman Karin Jean-Pierre stressed on Tuesday evening that there were currently no new announcements regarding military support for Ukraine.
Russian Ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov stated that the delivery of US tanks to Kyiv, if it actually takes place, would be another provocation by Washington against Moscow. The US tanks would be “destroyed without a doubt,” the envoy warned.
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