US President Joe Biden and the White House confirmed the shipment of 31 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, which will join the Leopard 2 sent by Germany and its European partners. The United States will start training Ukrainian soldiers “as soon as possible.”
NATO partners’ military support for Ukraine has entered a new phase. Starting this Wednesday, the United States will also supply kyiv with Abrams tanks, the “most effective in the world” in the words of US President Joe Biden, who announced the shipment at a press conference after learning of the shipment of Leopard 2 armored vehicles by Germany.
“Abrams tanks are the most efficient in the world, they are extremely complex to operate and maintain, so we are also going to provide Ukraine with the necessary parts and equipment to maintain these tanks on the battlefield,” the president said.
There will be a total of 31 armored vehicles, which correspond to a full battalion in the Ukrainian army, according to US government officials. The shipment, they pointed out, can still take “months” and must be completed with training for the Ukrainian troops for its handling, which they have already advanced will be done in a third country, without specifying so far.
Europe and the United States are “completely united”
The delivery of the Abrams comes after Germany finally agreed to send its Leopard 2, the most advanced tanks of the Bundeswehr (the German army) and approved other countries that own them, such as Poland, to also provide the armored vehicles.
Initially, Berlin had conditioned that delivery on Washington also giving up its Abrams. Asked about this causality, Biden replied that the allies are “all together” in supporting Ukraine. “Germany has really taken a step forward, the chancellor has been a strong voice in favor of the unity of a close friend”, he had previously stated, thanking chancellor Olaf Scholz for his decision.
Thank you @POTUS for another powerful decision to provide Abrams to 🇺🇦. Grateful to 🇺🇸 people for leadership support! It’s an important step on the path to victory. Today the free world is united as never before for a common goal – liberation of 🇺🇦. We’re moving forward
— Volodimir Zelensky (@ZelenskyyUa) January 25, 2023
Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelensky also thanked the US decision. “Thank you to the President of the United States for your firm decision to supply Ukraine with Abrams tanks. This is an important step towards victory over the Russian aggressor. Now the free world is united as never before in the pursuit of a common goal, the liberation of Ukraine from the invaders. We move on!” he wrote on his Twitter profile.
Meanwhile, from Russia they minimize the impact that these vehicles may have on the future of the conflict on Ukrainian soil. They assure that this “is a plan destined to fail” and that the tanks “will burn” on Ukrainian soil. The Russian ambassador to the United States, Anatoli Antonov, stressed that with the shipment no one should “have any illusions about who is the real aggressor in this conflict.”
Spain, also willing to send tanks
Germany’s definitive turn towards sending tanks has opened up a new scenario in Europe and Spain has been one of the last countries to also join this trend. This was stated this Wednesday by the Minister of the Presidency of that country, Félix Bolaños.
“Spain has to be where Germany, France or the United States is. Spain has international commitments and is where it needs to be,” he said, pointing out that “it would not be understood that we were in another place”, although the final announcement was made by defense minister Margarita Robles in statements to the EFE agency. For the moment The number and type of tanks to be sent have not been clarified.
The decision has already been criticized by Unidas Podemos, Spain’s government coalition partner, which fears an uncontrollable escalation of the conflict. Also by the minority partners of the Government. From the United States, however, they have applauded the decision.
“Spain has obviously been one of the countries that has contributed and supported Ukraine. That’s something the president always welcomes, and today he’s talked about some of those contributions. We are looking forward to continuing to work with Spain in the future,” said John Kirby, one of the White House spokesmen.
With EFE and local media
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