(DCWatchdog.com) – BREAKING NOW: The Biden administration has announced that it will send 31 M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, reversing its earlier stance on the matter.
The tanks are considered the best in the world and will be a significant boost to Ukraine’s long-term defenses.
The country has been asking its Western supporters for battle tanks for several months, as it prepares for a renewed Russian offensive expected this spring.
The announcement comes exactly one year after Russia invaded Ukraine, resulting in more than 100,000 estimated casualties on both sides.
The decision to send the tanks comes six days after a Pentagon spokesperson stated that “it just doesn’t make sense to provide [M1s] to the Ukrainians at this moment” as the tanks use a gas-turbine engine that runs on jet fuel.
However, the US will also send 8 AM-88 recovery vehicles, which will assist in towing tanks that run out of gas. The official stated that “These are the vehicles that go with the Abrams to be able to provide coverage after operations to make sure that the Ukrainians will be able to keep these Abrams up and running over.”
The delivery of the tanks will take up to a year, as they will not come from Pentagon stocks. The M1s will be purchased through congressionally approved Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative funds, which means that it will take longer for the US to procure, package and send the weapons to Europe.
The US announcement coincides with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s announcement that his government will send 14 Leopard 2 battle tanks to Ukraine, enough to outfit one company, and approve other nations’ requests to do the same after weeks of hesitation.
The German tanks use engines that run on diesel, which is easier to send downfield and are considered a better fit for Ukraine’s battle. Germany and its allies aim to provide Ukraine with 88 of the German-made Leopards, which will outfit two battalions.
Once delivered, the 31 US tanks will make up an additional battalion.
The synchronized timing of the two announcements is conspicuous, as German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius denied multiple reports last week that Berlin was holding out for the US to send M1s before contributing its Leopard tanks. US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin also stated that the Pentagon only considers sending weapons as a way to “provide capability” and not as diplomatic ploys.
However, White House officials stated that the decision “follows continued diplomatic conversations that we’ve been having over the last few weeks” including talks held by Austin and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley “with their German and European counterparts.”
The officials also stated that President Biden had spoken with Scholz, French President Emanuel Macron, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Italian Prime Minister Georgia Meloni ahead of a noon address at the White House.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS REPORT FROM THE DC WATCHDOG.