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Biden announces US will send 31 Abrams tanks to Ukraine

Additionally, the United States will provide a training program to maintain and operate the tanks, as well as eight M88 recovery vehicles to accompany the Abrams tanks which “will provide recovery operations to ensure that the Ukrainians will be able to keep those Abrams in place.” and run,” said a senior administration official.

The training will not take place in Ukraine, a senior administration official added.

The move was made after “ongoing diplomatic conversations” over the past few weeks with European allies and partners, including Germany, a senior official said.

“President Biden will meet or has met several times with Chancellor Scholz this month to coordinate security assistance to Ukraine, including the joint announcement we made a few weeks ago. on Patriot and other aid provisions,” the official said.

Presidents Biden and Zelenskyy at the White House last year.Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images File

The president’s announcement comes after he held a call with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz as well as French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to continue discussions on aid to Ukraine.

The decision is a turnaround for the Biden administration, which had resisted pressure from Germany to send the tanks to Ukraine. US officials had previously insisted that Biden was not inclined to provide Abrams tanks because members of his national security team, including Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Heads of State- Joint Major General Mark Milley did not think they would be a net positive for the Ukrainians given the difficulty of operating and maintaining them.

Asked by NBC News’ Andrea Mitchell during a feature call Wednesday about what had changed in the past few days and weeks for the United States to decide to send the tanks, a senior official said the administration had tried to “do your best to develop capabilities”. we provide Ukraine with the war itself.

“And I think we’re all looking at what’s happening now and what we expect to happen in the future, especially in the Donbass region, the kinds of capabilities that Ukraine really needs are maneuver capabilities combined arms, the ability to fight effectively in open terrain, in particular, and armored capabilities are a key part of that,” the senior administration official said.

During his announcement on Tuesday, Biden denied that Germany had forced his hand by sending tanks to Ukraine.

“Germany didn’t force me to change my mind. We wanted to make sure we were all together. That’s what we were going to do from the start,” the president said.

Courtney Kube, Mosheh wins and Carol E. Lee contributed.

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