In a reversal, the Biden administration is preparing to send Abrams tanks to Ukraine


After weeks of discussion, the Biden administration is preparing to send Abrams tanks to Ukraine, three senior US officials said.

The administration can announce the decision as early as Wednesday. The current plan includes a few dozen Abrams tanks, but officials stressed that the decision is not yet final and could change.

The tanks would not be immediately available to the Ukrainians. It will take many months for the high-tech vehicles to land in Ukraine, the officials said, and training for Ukrainian troops is also expected to take several months.

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The tanks would be paid for through the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, which sources weapons and equipment from private industry rather than US stockpiles.

The decision to proceed with the supply of the tanks would be a reversal for the Biden administration, which had resisted pressure from Germany to send them to Ukraine.

Last Friday, US officials insisted that President Joe Biden was disinclined to supply Ukraine with Abrams tanks because members of his national security team, including Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley, did not believe they would be a net positive for the Ukrainians given how difficult they are to operate and maintain.

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An official at the time also stressed that Biden would not give the Ukrainians a costly, hard-to-maintain system that his team believes would not help them against the Russians.

It was not immediately clear what could have led the Biden administration to apparently change its stance on sending the tanks.

Pentagon Press Secretary Brig. General Pat Ryder declined to comment on the matter at a briefing on Tuesday. “When and if we have something to report, we will,” he said.

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Earlier Tuesday, The Wall Street Journal reported that the Biden administration is “inclining to send” Abrams tanks to Ukraine.

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