Western Battle Tanks To Be Delivered To Ukraine, U.S. and Germany Announce
In a major show of support for Ukraine, the U.S and Germany on Wednesday announced that they will, after all, provide battle tanks to Kyiv, following weeks of tension over donating the heavy combat vehicle, TURAN's Washington correspondent reports.
Washington is sending a battalion of 31 M1 Abrams tanks, as President Joe Biden laid it out during a speech at the White House following his conversation with NATO allies, including leaders from Germany, France, UK and Italy regarding continued close coordination and support of Ukraine.
Biden's announcement came just hours after German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Berlin would provide a company of 14 Leopard 2 A6 tanks from Bundeswehr stocks, with the training of the Ukrainian crews to begin quickly in Germany. Other European capitals also announced plans to send about 80 Leopard 2s of their own.
While the Abrams tanks are unlikely to arrive in Ukraine until at least the fall, Leopards could be in Kyiv’s hands within a couple months — possibly in time for Russia’s forthcoming renewed offensive, senior U.S. administration officials told reporters.
Biden, in his turn, made it clear that sending Abrams tanks to Ukraine is not “an offensive threat to Russia,” appearing to respond to threats from the Kremlin officials that the provision of Western tanks would escalate tensions with Moscow.
“If Russian troops returned to Russia … that’s where they belong, this war would be over today," Biden said, "That’s what we all want, an end to this war.”
Biden also dismissed the notion that his decision to provide Abrams tanks for Ukraine came as a result of German pressure: “Germany didn’t force me to change my mind; we wanted to make sure we’re all together,” he said. “That’s what we’re going to do all along — that’s what we’re doing right now.”
The State Department also downplayed reports that Berlin and Washington were at odds over whether to provide Ukraine with Leopard 2 and M1A1 Abrams tanks.
"... What we see over the past couple of weeks, in the past couple of days principally are the two elements that I outlined at the top: determination.. .and unity, doing so, demonstrating, exhibiting that determination together with our allies and partners," Spokesperson Ned Price told a daily press briefing when responding to TURAN's questions.
Asked about reports that Russia has captured the city of Soledar, Price said, the only reason that there is some discussion about tactical movements in Soledar now is "because the Russians have not been in a position for months to tout any forward momentum, even incremental as it might be."
"Of course, the Russians are looking for a propaganda victory in what has been a sea of failures that they have confronted since the earliest days," Price said.
He went on to add, "Nothing that we’ve seen today or nothing that we’ve seen in recent days changes our assessment of the strategic course of this conflict. The Ukrainians have demonstrated remarkable determination and, most importantly, remarkable effectiveness in pushing back Russian aggression and recapturing much of the territory"
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