Biden: US to Send 31 Abrams Tanks to Ukraine, Training to Start ASAP
17:00 GMT 25.01.2023 (Updated: 18:50 GMT 25.01.2023)
The United States' moves comes as Ukrainian forces supposedly prepare a counteroffensive against Russia amid the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.
Abrams tanks are to be shipped to Kiev by Washington, which will start training Ukrainian tank crews soon, US President Joe Biden has announced at a press conference.
"Today I’m announcing that the United States will be sending 31 Abrams tanks
to Ukraine," Biden said. "We’ll begin to train Ukrainian troops on these issues of sustainment, logistics and maintenance as soon as possible."
The POTUS noted that sending the tanks was advocated by the US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, and that this move comes as Kiev prepares to launch a counteroffensive against Russian forces later this year.
At the same time, Biden claimed that these Abrams tanks
do not pose an "offensive threat" to Russia.
"Today’s announcement builds on the hard work and commitment from countries around the world, led by the United States of America, to help Ukraine defend its sovereignty and its territorial integrity," he said. "That’s what this is about… It is not an offensive threat to Russia."
Commenting on this development, senior US administration officials told media that the "announcement that the US is going to send 31 M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine is very much a continuation of our efforts to provide Ukraine with the capabilities that they need to continue to better defend themselves."
The officials also stated these Abrams tanks will constitute a Ukrainian tank battalion.
Earlier, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz approved sending Leopard 2 battle tanks
to Ukraine, while the United Kingdom also intends to send several of its own Challenger tanks
to the regime in Kiev.
Previous reports suggested that Berlin was willing to send the Leopard 2 tanks to Kiev only if Washington was to send its M1 Abrams tanks as well.
German government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit, however, denied that the German chancellor ever demanded that the United States deliver Abrams tanks to Ukraine as a precondition to the delivery of German Leopard 2 tanks.