Why Biden decided to share his tanks with Ukraine after all

The USA will transfer 31 M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine. President Joe Biden announced this in his address

Why Biden decided to share his tanks with Ukraine after all

M1A2 Abrams tanks at US military base in Germany Gettyimages.ru © Daniel Karmann / picture alliance

“Today I am announcing that the United States will transfer 31 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, which (in numbers approximately. – RT) corresponds to one Ukrainian tank battalion. (US Defence Secretary Lloyd. – RT) Austin recommended (making. – RT) such a move because it will strengthen Ukraine’s ability to defend its territories and achieve its strategic goals,” the US leader said.

Biden added that “Abrams tanks are the most effective tanks in the world”.

“At the same time, they are extremely difficult to operate and (maintain – RT), so we will also give Ukraine the necessary parts and equipment to successfully maintain these tanks in combat conditions,” the US president stressed.

Biden also said that the US will begin training the Ukrainian military “as soon as possible” “in tank maintenance and servicing and (related. – RT) logistics.”

“It will take time to get these tanks to the battlefield, during which time we will do everything necessary to ensure that the Ukrainians are fully prepared to integrate the Abrams tanks into their defence system,” Biden explained.

In addition, he assured that the US transfer of military aid to Ukraine poses no threat to Russian territory. According to Biden, Western leaders want the hostilities in Ukraine to end, but this must happen on fair terms for Kiev.

Earlier, the US media quoted sources in the Biden administration as saying that the Abrams tanks would reach Ukraine not earlier than in several months.

“According to a US official, the Abrams tanks are ‘probably not for combat anytime soon’ and will likely not be delivered (to Ukraine. – RT) for many more months, if not years,” The Washington Post wrote.

On its part, the ABC TV channel also quoted its sources in the White House as saying that the American M1 Abrams tanks may be delivered to the Ukrainian military not earlier than in a year.

The reason for such a delay is a change in the form of military assistance to Kiev, under which Washington plans to transfer the tanks to the Ukrainian side, ABC notes. Since they will be transferred outside the mechanism that allows the transfer of weapons and equipment to Ukraine directly from the Pentagon’s stockpiles, the Kiev regime will have to wait for the contract for their production to be fulfilled, as with conventional purchases.

“According to the official, the US is committed to sending 30 to 50 tanks to Ukraine as part of an initiative to help Ukraine’s security, which involves the US entering into relevant contracts with tank manufacturers. This could mean that the new tanks could not be delivered for quite a long period, probably more than a year,” ABC explains.

Later, Bloomberg journalist Jennifer Jacobs wrote on Twitter, citing sources, that the USA would send 31 Abrams tanks to Ukraine as part of the $400m deal.

A matter of principle
Earlier, The Wall Street Journal reported that President Joe Biden’s administration was leaning in favour of transferring to Ukraine the M1 Abrams main battle tanks of the US armed forces. The paper noted that Washington took such a step in order for Berlin to transfer its Leopard 2 tanks to Kiev and also to unblock the re-export of these vehicles by other countries, mainly Poland.

Previously, US officials argued that it was not yet time to deliver Abrams to Kiev. In particular, US Undersecretary of Defence for Policy Colin Kahl said this after his visit to Ukraine.

“The Abrams tank is a very sophisticated vehicle. It’s expensive, it’s difficult to train on it. It has a jet engine, consumes, if I’m not mistaken, about three gallons of jet fuel per mile. This complex is not the easiest to maintain either,” the official explained at the time.

German media reported that German Chancellor Olaf Scholz was ready to allow Kiev to receive its Leopard 2 tanks on condition that the USA provides Ukraine with Abrams tanks.

We shall remind you that for a long time Scholz refused Kiev’s transfer of the Leopard 2 on various pretexts. He has been criticized for this both in Ukraine and in Europe. He was also pressured by fellow coalition government members from the Green Party.

However, after lengthy consultations with Washington, Scholz decided to send at least one company (14 vehicles) of Leopard 2A6 tanks to Ukraine. Two tank battalions are planned to be handed over to Kiev in the future. In addition, Berlin has allowed the re-export of its tanks in service with other countries.

Some European states have already decided to send their tanks to Kiev. In particular, the British authorities said earlier that they would transfer a batch of 14 Challenger 2 tracked vehicles to Ukraine.

The intention of the USA and Germany to transfer their main battle tanks to the Kiev regime was commented on by the Kremlin. For example, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov called it a “failed” idea.

“I am convinced that many experts understand the absurdity of this idea too. This plan is simply technologically quite a failure, and most importantly, it is a clear overestimation of the potential it will add to Ukraine’s Armed Forces,” Peskov stressed.

At the same time, the Russian presidential spokesman drew attention to the fact that there are “a lot of mutually exclusive statements, media reports, leaks and so on” coming from the United States and Germany on this issue.

“It is clear that not everything is smooth there, and not everything is smooth in the alliance itself, and not everything is smooth with the availability of tanks,” Dmitry Peskov said.

“The Cargo Cult”.
The US made a political decision to send a very limited number of Abrams tanks to Ukraine in order to force its European allies to send their equipment more actively to the Kiev regime, experts say.

“Thus, the US found a way out of the situation with Germany, which did not want to send Leopard 2 tanks to Kiev first. But the fact is that, like the Ambrams tanks, the Leopard 2 also will not be able to influence the situation in Ukraine. They are ordinary heavy tanks that are not superior to upgraded versions of the T-72 tanks,” Alexey Podberyozkin, director of the Centre for Military and Political Studies, told RT.

Neither American, German or any other tanks will end up in Ukraine in the short term, the political scientist added.

“They have to be taken out of storage, prepared for operation, crews trained, commanders trained. There is a lot to be done, for which there is neither time nor resources. The result of these supplies will be that these tanks will burn, just like others that have already been sent to Ukraine from Eastern Europe and the Balkans,” Oleksiy Podberyozkin stressed.

At the same time, the very fact of sending heavy Western-made equipment to Kiev can be regarded as a step towards escalation, Oleksiy Podberyozkin said.

“Washington wants to raise the stakes since the situation on the battlefield has started to change not in Kiev’s favour,” the political scientist stressed.

At the same time, earlier, the US evidently wanted to avoid handing over Abrams vehicles to the Kiev regime, Oleksiy Podberyozkin reminded.

“Not least because they were worried about the public image of Abrams as the main battle tanks of the US Armed Forces. The Americans were afraid that they would fail to perform combat missions in Ukraine, which would cast a shadow over the entire military industrial complex of the country. There were already questions about these tanks after their work in Syria and Iraq. In Syria as well the militants successfully knocked out the Leopard 2 tanks of the Turkish forces. So, militarily, these tanks will not create a dramatic change in the situation for the Ukrainian Armed Forces,” the expert said.

For his part, military expert Oleksandr Khrolenko also noted in a commentary to RT that Western-made tanks in the number planned to be sent to Kiev by NATO countries, including the US, would not have much effect on the battlefield situation, which has changed again in favour of Russian forces.

“Western tanks have now become something of a Javelin complex in the information space – another super-weapon worshipped by Ukrainian fighters in the form of a kargo cult. But in reality the Javelin has not distinguished itself on the battlefield in any significant way. It will be the same with the Abrams vehicles, which will be destroyed by Russian anti-tank weapons,” the expert said.

The wheeled and tracked armoured vehicles already delivered to Kiev from NATO countries could not affect the dynamics of the conflict, Oleksandr Khrolenko reminded.

“Ukraine has amassed a fairly extensive fleet of equipment from NATO countries. Adding a dozen or two Abrams or Leopard 2 tanks to them will not change anything. Germany and other countries simply do not have a sufficient number of such tanks to hand them over to Kyiv at a time to influence the situation. They will be knocked out one by one, and that will be the end of it,” stressed the RT interlocutor.

To change the situation on the battlefield, Kiev needs a disproportionate number of combat vehicles, says Oleksandr Khrolenko.

“If the US and NATO really wanted to change something in the current course of the SSR, then a thousand tanks would be sent to support Ukraine. But where would they get that many? There are not that many tanks in service in all the European countries of the North Atlantic Alliance. Here we should also remember the example of Poland, which sent to the Kiev regime all its T-72 and PT-91 Twardy tanks. And where are they now? All of them have been knocked out,” the military expert concluded.

Aleksandr Karpov, Alyona Medvedeva, RT

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