US joins Germany in sending tanks to Ukraine as Biden hails ‘united’ effort | Ukraine & More Trending News

 

Joe Biden has authorized sending 31 M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, a major escalation in the US effort to counter Russian aggression as worldwide reluctance to ship tanks to the battlefront falls away.

The reversal of the US’s earlier place got here after Germany confirmed it’s going to make 14 of its Leopard 2A6 tanks obtainable for Ukraine’s conflict effort, and provides accomplice international locations its permission to re-export different battle tanks to assist Kyiv.

By agreeing to ship the Abrams, the US is ready to meet the demand of the German chancellor, Olaf Scholz, for an American dedication however with out having to ship the tanks instantly.

“Putin expected Europe and the United States to weaken our resolve,” Biden mentioned in the Roosevelt Room on the White House. “He expected our support for Ukraine to crumble with time. He was wrong. He was wrong. He was wrong from the beginning and he continues to be wrong.”

Moment Volodymyr Zelenskiy learns Germany authorized sending tanks to Ukraine throughout interview – video

Biden added: “We remain united and determined as ever in our conviction and our cause. These tanks are further evidence of our enduring, unflagging commitment to Ukraine and our confidence in the skill of the Ukrainian forces.”

Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskiy applauded Biden for the “powerful decision to provide Abrams,” declaring on Twitter that “the free world is united as never before”.

Earlier, the president had spoken by telephone with president Emmanuel Macron of France, Scholz of Germany, prime minister Giorgia Meloni of Italy and prime minister Rishi Sunak of Britain. Biden mentioned: “Germany has really stepped up. The chancellor’s been a strong, strong voice for unity.”

In public statements, Washington and Berlin had denied any connection between their respective selections on tanks, though media stories mentioned German officers had made clear in non-public that the Leopards have been conditional on the US making an analogous dedication.

Berlin’s hesitant stance on the battle tank query had induced disquiet amongst its western allies, and puzzlement in Germany in latest days. Critics in Scholz’s personal governing coalition accused his chancellory of being paralysed by inner-party conflicts.

Scholz confirmed that the nation will initially provide 14 Leopard 2 tanks together with ammunition and logistical and upkeep assist. He mentioned in a press release: “This decision follows our well-known line of supporting Ukraine to the best of our ability. We are acting in a closely coordinated manner internationally.”

Germany will even approve different European international locations supplying German-made Leopard 2 tanks from their very own inventory. Poland has requested approval to ship a few of its Leopards to Ukraine.

Norway additionally introduced that it’s going to ship Leopard 2 battle tanks to Ukraine as a part of Western assist. Defence minister Bjørn Arild Gram mentioned in an interview with Norwegian public tv NRK: “Norway and the government support the donation of battle tanks to Ukraine. Norway will take part.” He didn’t specify what number of could be despatched.

Biden with Tony Blinken and Lloyd Austin at the White House on Wednesday.
Biden with Tony Blinken and Lloyd Austin on the White House on Wednesday. Photograph: Shawn Thew/EPA

Russia denounced the American and German initiatives as “a rather disastrous plan”. Dmitry Peskov, a Kremlin spokesperson, mentioned: “The main thing is, this is a completely obvious overestimation of the potential [this] would add to the armed forces of Ukraine. It is yet another fallacy, a rather profound one.”

But the bulletins comes as a major increase for Ukraine, which has pleaded with western allies for months to ship battle tanks as it seeks to reclaim territory and braces for a possible new Russian offensive in the spring.

Much of the US assist despatched to this point in the 11-month-old conflict has been by a separate programme drawing on Pentagon shares to get weapons extra shortly to Ukraine. But even below that programme, it might take months to get tanks to Ukraine and to get Ukrainian forces educated on them.

Ukraine says closely armoured western battle tanks would give its troops extra mobility and safety earlier than a Russian offensive that Kyiv expects in the close to future. They may additionally assist Ukraine retake among the territory that has fallen to Russia.

But till now, the US has resisted offering its personal M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, citing in depth and sophisticated upkeep and logistical challenges with the hi-tech autos.

US officers had mentioned that the Abrams was robust to preserve, exhausting to prepare Ukrainians to function, and ran on jet gas – making it a poor selection for this part of the conflict.

Brig Gen Pat Ryder, a Pentagon spokesperson, informed reporters on Tuesday: “The M1 is a complex weapons system that is challenging to maintain … that was true yesterday, that is true today and will be true in the future.”

Washington had argued it might be extra productive to ship German Leopards since many allies have already got them and Ukrainian troops would wish much less coaching than on the tougher Abrams.

Biden, flanked by secretary of state Antony Blinken and protection secretary Lloyd Austin, mentioned Austin had advisable this step. “The Abrams tanks are the most capable tanks in the world.

“They’re also extremely complex to operate and maintain so we’re also giving Ukraine the parts and equipment necessary to effectively sustain these tanks on the battlefield and we’ll begin to train Ukrainian troops on these issues of sustainment, logistical and maintenance as soon as possible.”

But the president acknowledged that delivering the tanks to the sphere will “take time”. In a convention name with reporters, a senior administration official mentioned such coaching would happen outdoors Ukraine.

Biden additionally sought to calm fears that supplying tanks may provoke recent tensions with Moscow, saying it was about “helping Ukraine defend and protect Ukrainian land. It is not an offensive threat to Russia. There is no offensive threat to Russia.”

Domestically, Biden’s transfer gives a brand new check of bipartisan assist in Congress for the open-ended Ukraine dedication. It was welcomed by Mitch McConnell, the Republican minority chief in the Senate, who mentioned: “Modern main battle tanks will provide highly maneuverable, armored firepower that will help Ukraine liberate territory and keep pressure on the Russian aggressors, but time is of the essence.”

US joins Germany in sending tanks to Ukraine as Biden hails ‘united’ effort | Ukraine

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US joins Germany in sending tanks to Ukraine as Biden hails ‘united’ effort | Ukraine

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US joins Germany in sending tanks to Ukraine as Biden hails ‘united’ effort | Ukraine

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