US President Joe Biden said today, Wednesday, that the United States will send 31 M1 Abrams combat tanks to Ukraine, hours after Germany confirmed that it would transfer its Leopard 2 tanks to the Kyiv government, and a similar announcement from Norway and other European countries. This was welcomed by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and Ukraine described it as the “Great Tank Alliance”.
Biden described the Abrams tanks as “the best in the world” in a speech at the White House. He added that the United States would provide Ukraine with spare parts and equipment in addition to training.
The US President also said that Russian President Vladimir Putin tried to differentiate between the states and their European allies, but failed to do so, and stressed that they are united in their support for Ukraine and keen on its victory in the battle “because it is a battle for freedom.”
Biden added that they have worked with their allies “to ensure that the Ukrainians are in the best position in the face of this prolonged Russian aggression,” and said that the Ukrainian forces are working to liberate their lands and therefore must improve their operational capabilities against the Russians.
Biden confirmed that Britain, France and Germany will provide combat tanks to Ukraine, noting that supplying Ukraine with tanks came in agreement and cooperation with all US allies.
The US president praised German Chancellor Olaf Schultz’s earlier announcement that 14 Leopard tanks would be sent to Ukraine, saying that “Germany has already taken more responsibility and the chancellor has been a strong voice for unity” among Ukraine’s allies.
Today, Wednesday, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg welcomed Germany’s decision to provide Ukraine with Leopard 2 tanks, and believed that this could help Kyiv to “victory”, while Russia said that providing Ukraine with German tanks is part of a pre-plan to wage war on it. .
“At a critical moment in the war waged by Russia, tanks can help Ukraine defend itself and win as an independent state,” Stoltenberg said – in a tweet.
For his part, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky expressed his “gratitude” to Germany after Berlin’s decision to hand over Leopard tanks to Kyiv, and said – in a conversation with German Chancellor Olaf Schultz today, Wednesday – that he was “sincerely grateful” for the green light given by Berlin to give his country Leopard tanks.
German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius confirmed today, Wednesday, that the first batch of Leopard combat tanks could arrive in Ukraine within about 3 months.
And he made it clear – after a session of the Defense Committee in the German parliament – that training will now begin and supply routes will be clarified very quickly.
Pistorius – who belongs to Chancellor Schultz’s Social Democratic Party – described his country’s government’s decision to supply Leopard tanks to Ukraine as “historic” because it was coordinated “in a very explosive situation in Ukraine.”
The German Minister of Defense said that this “is not a cause for celebration,” noting that he has great understanding for those who are concerned about this step, “but what is clear is that we will not be a party to the war, we are working on this.”
Germany had announced its intention to supply 14 Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine as a first step to support Kyiv in its war against Russia, according to what was announced by German government spokesman Steffen Hepstreit earlier today, indicating that Ukrainian forces will soon be trained in Germany, in addition to providing them with materials. Logistics and ammunition.
Hepstreit explained that the goal is to assemble two armored battalions with Leopard 2 tanks, and since the main German armored battalion usually includes 44 Leopard 2 tanks, this means that it is about supplying a total of about 90 tanks to Ukraine.
For his part, the German Chancellor stressed that Germany will always remain at the forefront of countries supporting Ukraine, and said that they should work closely with their Western allies to deliver the necessary military equipment to Kyiv.
He added that Germany has provided Ukraine with tanks and defensive systems, and will provide it with Patriot systems to defend itself, noting that the decision to provide it with armored vehicles was made in coordination with France. The German chancellor attributed the reason for his country’s delay in approving the provision of tanks to Ukraine to international coordination and cooperation, and said that “the decision to wait was correct.”
In turn, Britain welcomed Germany’s decision, and British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said, “We welcome Germany joining Britain, France and Poland in providing Ukraine with tanks,” stressing that “it is time for Russia to realize that the international community is increasingly determined to support Ukraine.”
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak also saw that sending Leopard tanks to Ukraine was a correct decision by NATO allies and would enhance Kyiv’s defense capabilities.--
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawski welcomed Germany’s decision to send Leopard tanks to Ukraine, saying it was “a big step towards stopping Russia”.-
As for the French presidency, it said, “Germany’s decision to send Leopard tanks to Ukraine reinforces our plans to send tanks to Kyiv.”
Great Tank Alliance
In a related context, Reuters quoted two sources in the United States that Washington will announce later today, Wednesday, its intention to provide dozens of its tanks, “Abrams M1” to Ukraine.
US President Joe Biden is expected to deliver a speech today, Wednesday, related to his country’s support for Ukraine, according to what was announced by the White House, amid expectations that Washington will announce the delivery of Abrams tanks to Kyiv in the future.
The White House did not announce details of this scheduled speech at 12:00 local time (17:00 GMT), except to say that Biden “will make statements regarding continued support for Ukraine.”
CNN quoted informed sources as saying that the US administration is in the process of putting the final touches on a plan to send about 30 Abrams tanks to Ukraine.
In this regard, Finnish Defense Minister Ante Kaikkonen announced today that his country plans to send tanks to Ukraine, and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said that Amsterdam is also preparing to supply Ukraine with tanks.
Al-Jazeera correspondent quoted a US official today, Wednesday, as saying that the Pentagon will train Ukrainian forces on Abrams tanks before handing them over.
It is noteworthy that, in addition to Germany and the United States, Britain, Poland, Norway, Finland, the Netherlands, France and Spain have also announced similar plans to send tanks to Kyiv.
The Ukrainian reaction came, welcoming what the Kyiv ambassador in Berlin called the “Great Tank Alliance”, where the Ukrainian president stressed the importance of these tanks in the face of Russia, which is preparing for a new wave of aggression, as he put it.
For its part, the Russian Foreign Ministry criticized the provision of German tanks to Ukraine, saying that this matter is part of a pre-planned war against Russia.
The Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said that the United States is dragging Europe into a major war.
For his part, Russia’s ambassador to Berlin, Sergei Nechaev, said today, Wednesday, that “Berlin’s decision to supply Leopard tanks to Kyiv is very dangerous, because it will raise the conflict to a new level of confrontation.”
The Russian ambassador added that the decision contradicts German politicians’ declarations of their unwillingness to be drawn into the conflict, and believed that Berlin and its Western partners “are not interested in a diplomatic solution to the Ukrainian crisis, but are counting on escalation.”
Nechaev pointed out that the German tanks will be sent again to the “Eastern Front”, which means not only the death of Russian soldiers, but also the death of the civilian population.
Russia’s ambassador to Washington, Anatoly Antonov, said that supplies of American combat tanks would be “a new blatant provocation.”
Meanwhile, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that any American tank sent to Ukraine “will burn like other tanks.”
Moscow says that supplying Ukraine with modern offensive weapons would prolong the war and delay what it describes as its inevitable victory.