On Wednesday, President Joe Biden announced that the US would send 31 M-1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine.In the past several weeks, the government resisted sending Abrams to Ukraine, given the machine’s unique supply chain needs and the technicality demanded from tankers to operate it.
During today’s press briefing John Kirby from the National Security Council stated that the Abrams are the “most capable tanks in the world,” and “a lot goes into operating them.”
Kirby stated that the US “never ruled them out.” He added that conditions on the ground changed, and the Abrams will better assist Ukraine in fighting that “Ukrainians are going to need to be capable of well into 2023.”
According to Kirby, one of the US government’s main priorities is to ensure that Ukrainians can fight on the terrain and that they are prepared for operation moving forward.
Kirby believes that the Russians will use the winter season to “re-group, re-train, and re-equip” in preparation for continued fighting when the weather improves. “We are using this time the best that we can,” added Kirby.
“This decision today is very much indicative of the President’s long term commitment to Ukraine and how he has tasked the National Security team to think ahead,” declared Kirby.
The arrival of tanks in Ukraine will “take time,” as stated by the President. However, Kirby guarantees that the US will not “waste time” and will start training Ukrainian tankers and troopers so that once the Abrams reach Ukrainian soil, military officials will know how to operate them properly.
“When they [Abrams] get there we want to make sure that they fall in ready hands and that Ukrainians know how to use them so that they can be more effective in the battlefield,” added Kirby.
Moreover, the Abram tanks require a specific type of fuel. During the months it will take for the tanks to arrive in Ukraine, the US wants to guarantee that the pipeline of resources needed to maneuver the machine is available to Ukrainians.
When asked why the decision to send the Abrams to Ukraine was not taken earlier, Kirby responded that the US is in constant conversation with Ukrainian officials about their needs and that tactics are continuously developing following war assessments.
Some fear the Abrams will fall into Russian hands, allowing Russia access to American war technology. Kirby said tech transfer is “always a risk in war.”
President Biden had a call this morning with President Macron of France, Chancellor Scholz of Germany, Prime Minister Meloni of Italy, and Prime Minister Sunak of the United Kingdom as part of coordination efforts on support for Ukraine.
Kirby assured that today’s discussion between Biden and European heads of state was very “candid and productive” and that all leaders are rightly focused on doing what they can to assist Ukraine today and in the future.
Following weeks of intense discussion, German officials have decided to send 14 Leopards and two tanks to Ukraine, together with American Abrams.
Earlier today, Biden expressed his gratitude to Chancellor Scholz, declaring that “Germany has really stepped up.”