White House Announcement on M1 Abrams Tanks Expected Tomorrow
Poland is also likely to provide Leopard 2 tanks, with or without Germany’s blessing.
The White House tomorrow is expected to make an announcement on providing M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, a U.S. government official confirmed. The announcement comes after weeks of Biden administration arguments that the tanks would be a poor fit for the Ukrainian military.
Earlier in the day, the Wall Street Journal, AP, and other outlets reported that the United States is poised to send 30 of the tanks to Ukraine. No delivery date has been reported, nor how and where Ukrainian troops would learn to operate and maintain the tanks.
Deliveries of Bradley Fighting Vehicles, announced earlier this month, are expected within a few weeks. Training will take place outside of Ukraine.
The M1 Abrams announcement comes after Defense officials repeatedly said the tanks are too complex, too hard to maintain, and too thirsty for jet fuel for their turbine engines to benefit Ukraine.
White House spokesperson Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder declined to comment on the issue of M1 tanks for Ukraine on Tuesday.
Also on Tuesday, Poland formally requested Germany’s permission to sent some Ukraine of its German-made Leopard 2 tanks, which require less gas and maintenance than the Abrams. But Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki told reporters on Monday that getting German permission was of “secondary importance.” But German officials on Tuesday reportedly said that they would provide Leopard 2 tanks and would not stand in the way of others doing so as well.
In mid-January, the UK government said it would send 14 of its Challenger 2 tanks to Ukraine.
Many observers expect the next phase of Ukraine’s efforts to eject Russian forces to be more difficult than the campaigns to retake Kherson and Kharkiv. Russia is heavily dug in around the Donbas, near Bakhmut, and in southeastern Ukraine.
Ben Hodges, a retired lieutenant general who commanded U.S. Army Europe and now advises the Human Rights First group, said this week that Western-supplied tanks and other forms of ground armor could be "the spearhead of a force to break through Russian defenses towards Mariupol to continue the isolation of Crimea."