The Biden administration is finalizing plans to send about 30 American-made Abrams tanks to Ukraine and could make an announcement as early as this week, according to two officials with knowledge of the deliberations.
The United States will also send a small number of recovery vehicles, one of the officials said. Recovery vehicles are tracked vehicles used to assist in the repair of tanks on the battlefield or removal from the battlefield for service and maintenance in a different location.
The timeline for the actual delivery of the tanks is still unclear and it normally takes several months to train troops to use the tanks effectively, officials said.
An announcement about the tanks could be part of a bid to break a diplomatic deadlock with Germany, which told the United States last week that it would not send its Leopard tanks to Ukraine unless the United States also did not agree to send their M1 Abrams tanks.
The administration’s top national security officials actively considered what steps they could take to convince Germany to send in the Leopards.
US Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman said on Tuesday she suspects the tank issue “will be resolved relatively soon.”
Asked what was going on with the supply of tanks – German Leopards or American Abrams – Sherman did not give a specific answer, but said: “I think you will see in the days to come the resolution of some of these problems .”
“It’s difficult for everyone. As President Biden said, each country has to make its own decisions about what weapons they want to supply,” Sherman said in a speech at the City Club of Cleveland in the United States. Ohio Tuesday.
A bit of context: At a meeting of Western defense leaders in Germany on Friday, the United States and its allies failed to convince German officials to send the Leopards as part of Berlin’s next round of military assistance. to Ukraine. But on Tuesday, German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said: “We are preparing our decision, which will come very soon” on tanks.
Sky News Arabia was the first to report that the United States was considering sending the tanks.
The administration has never ruled out the possibility of shipping American tanks, but US officials said publicly last week that now was not the right time to send the 70-ton M1 Abrams tanks because they are expensive. and require significant training. operate.
Instead, tanks have been repeatedly touted as a long-term option – although critics say the right time has come, as Ukraine prepares for the possibility of Russia mobilizing more troops and launching a new offensive . The UK has already announced that it will send 12 of its Challenger 2 tanks to Ukraine, crossing what previously seemed like a red line for the US and its European allies.
Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky has consistently asked Western allies for modern tanks as his country prepares for a major Russian counteroffensive expected in the spring.
CNN’s Jennifer Hansler contributed to this report.
The post has been updated with more details on the tanks.