Washington changed its position on tank deliveries due to “conditions on the ground”
The decision to send M1 Abrams main battle tanks to Ukraine was prompted by changes in the war between Moscow and Kyiv, as well as developments on the ground, the council’s spokesman explained on Wednesday. United States National Security Officer, John Kirby.
“Since the beginning of this war 11 months ago, we have evolved the capabilities we provide to Ukraine, with the conditions on the ground,” Kirby said at a press briefing shortly after US President Joe Biden announced he would send 31 tanks to Kyiv.
“What has changed… are the conditions on the ground and the kinds of fights the Russians are fighting right now, and the kinds of fights, more importantly, that we think the Ukrainians will need to be capable of in the weeks and weeks. month. to come, well into 2023”, Kirby continued, apparently referring to an anticipated offensive by Ukrainian forces.
The tanks themselves will not be transferred to Ukraine immediately, he noted, adding that they will arrive in the country in “Several months.” At the same time, the training of Ukrainian crews to operate the 62-ton behemoths should begin soon.
“[The tanks] are going to have unique maintenance and operational requirements for Ukrainians, so we want to make sure we train them. So this train is going to start very soon, and then the tanks will follow,” said Kirby.
Abrams’ announcement came as Washington’s European allies agreed to supply kyiv forces with German-made Leopard 2 tanks. Berlin, long reluctant to deliver the advanced armored vehicles to Ukraine, finally agreed to allow third countries operating the tanks to re-export them to Ukraine, and also pledged to supply 14 Leopards from its stockpiles. nationals.
The new deliveries come on top of the continued lavish military support provided to Ukraine by the collective West during the nearly year-long conflict. According to Biden’s latest statements, the United States and its allies have provided Ukraine with more than 3,000 armored vehicles and more than 8,000 artillery pieces to date. The official reading of Biden’s speech, however, lowered the latter figure to 800 pieces.
Moscow has repeatedly urged the West to stop “pumping” Ukraine with arms, warning that sustained aid would not change the ultimate outcome of the conflict, but would only prolong hostilities and inflict more suffering on ordinary Ukrainians.
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