WASHINGTON. US President Joe Biden announced in a short speech at the White House the sending of 31 M1 Abrams heavy tanks to Ukraine, a move announced in recent days which represents a turning point in the American position. Until a few days ago, the Pentagon had in fact always maintained that the Abrams were not suitable – given the difficulty of maintenance and the long training – in the Ukrainian context.
It will take months, “it will take time and training”, said Biden, explaining that the American commitment is long-term and that every decision has been made in agreement with the allies
Before speaking from the White House, Biden held telephone conversations with the prime ministers of Italy, Germany, France and the United Kingdom to strengthen the engagement. “We are fully and totally united in supporting the Ukrainian counteroffensive,” Biden said
In his brief speech, the US president underlined that the sending of tanks “does not represent an offensive against Russia”. He then reiterated that if Russian troops left Ukraine, the war “would end today”.
Washington has built a very broad coalition in the eleven months of war and Biden wanted to underline the contribution that each country has made on several levels. He highlighted the role of the Contact Group on Ukraine chaired by Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin which held 8 meetings in Ramstein; he then spoke of the support of 143 countries for Ukraine manifested in October in a vote at the UN General Assembly. And he cited the contributions in terms of armaments that many European countries have provided, focusing in particular on the German role in sending Patriots and in the British and French ones with regard to Challenger and Amx tanks.
Biden wanted to dwell on relations with Germany, thanked Chancellor Scholz for the leadership shown and the decision to unblock the sending of Leopard tanks. Nine other countries will join the Germans by sending the means of their arsenals to Kiev within a few weeks.
Here’s how much the Leopard and M1 Abrams tanks cost, which will be supplied to Ukraine
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