We are committed to consulting and coordinating with allies to ensure that Ukraine receives as much of the equipment it needs as quickly as possible, said State Department spokesman Ned Price on Tuesday. In this way, he answered the question of whether the US had concluded an agreement with Germany on the supply of Leopard and M1 Abrams tanks.
“We are trying to engage in good faith in coordination and consultation not only with Ukraine, but with all countries that provide needed military assistance, so that we provide as much [sprzętu]as quickly as possible and as effectively as possible,” Price said during a press briefing. It was the answer to the PAP question whether the expected deliveries of Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine were conditioned by the delivery of American Abrams tanks. “If there are any steps we can take to ensure that Ukraine gets the amount of equipment or capabilities it needs, we are taking them,” he added.
He also pointed to the delivery of S-300 systems by Slovakia after the US ensured the stationing of a battery of Patriot systems in Slovakia.
Price did not explicitly confirm that the US would send Abrams tanks to Ukraine, although he also did not rule it out and added that he did not want to pre-empt German announcements regarding possible deliveries of Leopard 2 tanks.
According to e.g. The Wall Street Journal and Politico, the US and Germany agreed that each country would supply its own tanks, and Berlin would also agree to third countries, including Poland, supplying the Leopards. Earlier, the German and US defense ministers declared that the Leopard and Abrams deliveries were not related. The Pentagon also drew attention to the difficulties with keeping the Abramses in Ukraine, e.g. due to the consumption and type of fuel (jet fuel) needed for the operation of American tanks.
Pentagon spokesman Gen. Pat Ryder on Tuesday did not rule out the transfer of Abrams, but reiterated that “M1 is a complex system that is a challenge to maintain.” At the same time, he added that for each weapon transferred by the US, Ukrainian soldiers are trained in its use and maintenance.
According to Politico sources, the US may donate about 30 Abrams tanks. As Voice of America radio reported, the Abrams will be donated under the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI) program, which means they will not come from US warehouses but will be purchased from other sources. This can potentially extend delivery times.
From Washington Oskar Górzyński (PAP)