Abrams tanks pose ‘no offensive threat’ to Russia, insists Biden


Namita Singh and Emily Atkinson

Thu, 26 January 2023 at 4:46 am GMT

The US will send 31 M1 Abrams battle tanks to Ukraine and Germany will send its own Leopard 2s – after weeks of persistent calls from Kyiv for the weaponry to help it fight off Russia’s invasion.

President Joe Biden said that the battle tanks pose “no offensive threat”, as Russia denounced the decisions as an “extremely dangerous” step, while Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky hailed the move.

Urging allied to provide large quantities of tanks quickly, he said: “The key now is speed and volumes. Speed in training our forces, speed in supplying tanks to Ukraine. The numbers in tank support.”

Ukraine has been seeking hundreds of modern tanks to reclaim occupied territory in the south and east with the two warring countries have been relying primarily on Soviet-era T-72 tanks.

Russian president Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said any Abrams shipments would be a waste of money as they “burn” like other tanks.

“It overestimates the potential it will add to the Ukrainian army. These tanks burn just like all the others,” Mr Peskov told reporters

Key points

  • Biden says Abrams tanks pose ‘no offensive threat’ to Russia
  • US sends fleet of Abrams tanks and tow vehicles to Kyiv
  • Leopard tanks won’t reach frontline for three months – German defence minister
  • Germany confirms it will send tanks to Ukraine
  • Russia condemns US tank deliveries as ‘blatant provocation’
  • Germany ‘to send company of tanks to Ukraine’ after pressure from allies
  • Zelensky aide hails ‘punching fist of democracy’ following reports of German tanks

US vows ‘long term commitment’ to Ukraine as it sends in fleet of Abrams tanks and tow vehicles to Kyiv

03:22 , Namita Singh

The United States will provide 31 new M1 Abrams Main Battle Tanks to the Armed Forces of Ukraine as part of America’s efforts to help bolster Ukraine’s defence against the nearly year-old war being waged by Russia, multiple Biden administration officials have said.

The 31 tanks will be accompanied by eight M88 recovery vehicles — heavily armoured tow trucks used to rescue tanks that have been disabled or damaged in battle — and will be enough to equip an entire Ukrainian tank battalion with the American-made beasts, which first gained worldwide recognition for their firepower and armour capability during engagements with Iraqi forces during Operation Desert Storm in 1991.

Read this report from my colleague Andrew Feinberg to find out more about President Joe Biden’s commitments to Ukraine:

US will send Abrams tanks and armoured tow vehicles for Ukrainian tank battalion

Western tanks set for Ukraine as Sunak hails ‘right decision’

05:00 , Namita Singh

Dozens of Nato’s modern battle tanks are to be sent to Ukraine to bolster the fight against Vladimir Putin’s invasion, ending weeks of diplomatic deadlock over the supply of armour to the country.

German chancellor Olaf Scholz approved the supply of the Leopard 2 to Kyiv, which would also allow other allies operating the tanks to re-export them.

Prime minister Rishi Sunak said it was the “right decision”, and the move would bolster Ukraine’s “defensive firepower”.

The US confirmed it will send 31 M1 Abrams tanks to the warzone.

More in this report:

Western tanks set for Ukraine as UK questions battle-readiness of Russian rival

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