Biden explains why the US and its allies are sending tanks to Ukraine
The United States will join its allies in sending tanks to Ukraine so the country can better fight off Russian invaders, President Joe Biden said Wednesday.
The Biden administration is sending 31 M1 Abrams tanks to Ukrainian forces, the equivalent of a Ukrainian battalion, while Germany and other European nations are sending German-made Leopard 2 tanks. Britain also plans to deliver its Challenger 2 tanks to Kiev, and France plans to deliver its AMX-10 armored fighting vehicles. Together, the shipments signal a turnaround in Western support for Ukraine and confidence in Ukrainians’ ability to retake territory from Russian forces that invaded their country 11 months ago.
“The United States, along with our allies and partners, will continue to do everything we can to support Ukraine,” Biden said Wednesday.
Russian President Vladimir Putin “expected Europe and the United States to weaken our resolve,” Biden continued. “He expected our support for Ukraine to decline over time. He was wrong. He has been and continues to be wrong.
Ukrainian leaders say Moscow needs 300 tanks to support its military operations, taking advantage of Russia’s weakness before Moscow can rearm its forces. The tanks, especially the Abrams models, are advanced, so it may take months for them to arrive and for Ukrainian forces to learn how to deploy them.
“Abrams tanks are the most capable tanks in the world, and they are very complex to operate and maintain,” Biden said. “That’s why we are providing Ukraine with the parts and equipment needed to effectively support these tanks on the battlefield.”
In recent weeks, Germany has been reluctant to approve tank shipments to Ukraine, including German equipment that would require approval from Berlin, fearing an escalation of the conflict with allies. But on Wednesday, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz admitted he had listened to international criticism and the argument that a worse escalation from Russia was inevitable without strong support for Ukraine now. . Scholz said that Germany will send 14 Leopard 2 tanks.
Some US officials are reluctant to send Abrams tanks to Ukraine. But their colleagues won the internal debate within the Biden administration, which saw the promise as crucial to moving Germany forward.
Biden denied that Germany “forced” him to change his decision to send tanks, adding that “we want to make sure we’re all together.”
Biden still insists that the United States will not go to war with its own troops in Ukraine.
“Today’s announcement builds on the hard work and commitment of countries around the world, led by the United States, to help Ukraine protect its sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Biden said.
“This is to help Ukraine protect and defend Ukrainian land,” he continued. “There is no threat of an attack on Russia. There is no threat of an attack on Russia. If Russian troops return to Russia, they will be where they belong. This war would end today. All we want is an end to war.
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