U.S. to Equip Ukraine with M1 Abrams Tanks in Policy Reversal

On Wednesday, senior administration officials announced that the U.S. will provide Ukraine with 31 M1 Abrams battle tanks. This decision comes after months of the Biden administration arguing that the tanks were too difficult for Ukrainian troops to operate and maintain, according to The Associated Press.

Germany’s agreement to send 14 Leopard 2 A6 tanks from its own stocks also played a role in the U.S. decision. As stated by Germany, they would not send the Leopards unless the U.S. provided the Abrams as well, in an effort to not incur Russia’s wrath without the U.S. committing its own tanks.

The $400 million package also includes eight M88 recovery vehicles. These tank-like tracked vehicles can tow the Abrams if it gets stuck.

The U.S., along with France, the U.K., Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, and Sweden, will provide Ukraine with hundreds of tanks and heavy armored vehicles to fortify the country as it enters a new phase of the war and attempts to break through entrenched Russian lines.

However, there is no information on whether the U.S. tanks will be pulled from the existing stockpile of more than 4,000 Abrams or whether the U.S. will use the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative to buy new systems to possibly backfill allies who send their own or buy new systems outright for Ukraine.

Russian Ambassador to Germany, Sergey Nechayev, called Berlin’s decision to send Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine “extremely dangerous.” Nechayev stated in an online statement, “We’re seeing yet again that Germany, as well as its closest allies, is not interested in a diplomatic resolution of the Ukraine crisis, it is determined to permanently escalate it and to indefinitely pump the Kyiv regime full of new lethal weapons.”

The M1 Abrams is built by weapons manufacturer General Dynamics.