The Biden administration is finalizing plans to send US-made Abrams tanks to Ukraine and could make an announcement as early as this week, according to three US officials familiar with the deliberations.
The timing around 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 an effort to break a diplomatic standoff with Germany, which last week signaled to the US that it would not send its Leopard tanks to Ukraine unless the US also agreed to sending his M1 Abrams tanks.
Top national security officials in the administration have been actively considering steps they could take to convince Germany to send the leopards.
US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman said on Tuesday that she believes the tank issue “will be resolved relatively quickly.”
When asked about what happened with tank deliveries — German Leopards or American Abrams — Sherman didn’t give a specific answer, but said, “I think you’ll see a solution to some of these problems in the next few days.”
“This is hard on everyone. As President Biden has said, each country has to make its own decisions about what weapons it wants to provide,” Sherman said in remarks Tuesday at the City Club of Cleveland in Ohio.
Some background: On Friday, at a meeting of Western defense leaders in Germany, the US and its allies failed to convince German officials to send the leopards as part of Berlin’s next round of military aid to Ukraine. But on Tuesday, German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said: “We are preparing our decision, which will come very soon” about the tanks.
Sky News Arabia was the first to break the news that the US is considering sending the tanks.
The government has never completely brushed aside the possibility of shipping US tanks, but US officials said publicly last week that now is not the right time to send the 70-ton M1 Abrams tanks, as they are expensive and contain a significant amount of require training. to operate.
Instead, the tanks have been repeatedly launched as a long-term option — even though critics say now is the right time, as Ukraine braces for the possibility of Russia mobilizing more troops and launching a new offensive . The UK has already announced that it will send 12 of their Challenger 2 tanks to Ukraine, previously appearing to be 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 an expected major Russian counter-offensive in the spring.
DailyExpertNews’s Jennifer Hansler contributed to this report.