In addition, the US will provide a training program to maintain and operate the tanks, as well as eight M88 recovery vehicles to accompany the Abrams tanks that «will provide recovery operations to ensure that the Ukrainians can keep these Abrams running.» and working,” said a senior administration official.
The training will not take place in Ukraine, a senior administration official added.
This decision was made after «continuous diplomatic talks» over the past few weeks with European allies and partners, including Germany, a senior official said.
“President Biden will or has spoken with Chancellor Scholz several times this month to coordinate security assistance to Ukraine, including the joint announcement we made a couple of weeks ago about Patriot and other assistance arrangements,” the official said.
The president’s announcement comes after he held a call with Germany’s Chancellor Olaf Scholz along with French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to continue talks on aid to Ukraine.
The decision is a setback for the Biden administration, which had resisted pressure from Germany to send the tanks to Ukraine. US officials previously insisted that Biden was unwilling to provide Abrams tanks because members of his national security team, including Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley, did not believe they would be a net benefit to the ukrainians given how difficult they are to operate and maintain.
Asked in a background call Wednesday by NBC News’ Andrea Mitchell what had changed in recent days and weeks for the US to decide to send the tanks, a senior official said the administration has been trying «to do the best we can to develop capabilities. we are providing Ukraine with the war itself.”
“And I think we all look at what is happening now and what we expect to happen in the future, particularly in the Donbas area, the kind of capabilities that Ukraine really needs are combined arms maneuver capabilities, the ability to fight effectively in Open terrain, particularly, and armored capabilities are a key part of that,» the senior administration official said.
During his announcement on Tuesday, Biden denied that Germany was forcing him to send tanks to Ukraine.
“Germany did not force me to change my mind. We wanted to make sure we were all together. That’s what we were going to do all along,» the president said.
courtney kube, moses wins Y Carol E. read contributed.