Biden Announces Shipment of Abrams Tanks to Ukraine

President Biden on Wednesday authorized the shipment of 31 Abrams M1 tanks to Ukraine, ramping up U.S. investment in military equipment and artillery for the embattled country as it fights to repel the Russian invasion.

The delivery should equip one Ukrainian battalion, which can include up to around 1,000 soldiers, President Biden said at a press briefing alongside Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Defense Secretary Antony Blinken.

Austin recommended this step, Biden said, “because it will enhance Ukraine’s capacity to defend its territory and achieve its strategic objectives.”

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“The Abrams tanks are the most capable tanks in the world. They’re also extremely complex to operate and maintain. So we’re also giving Ukraine the parts and the equipment necessary to effectively sustain these tanks on the battle field,” the president added.

Biden’s announcement comes shortly after German chancellor Olaf Scholtz committed to send Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine to help the embattled nation prepare for an expected upcoming Russian offensive.

PHOTOS: M1 Abrams Tank

“We will begin to train the Ukrainian troops on these issues of sustainment, logistics, and maintenance as soon as possible,” Biden said.

In December, the U.S. reportedly reached the final stages of preparation to ship Patriot missile-defense systems to Ukraine. Ukraine for months had petitioned the U.S. for the defense system to help intercept ballistic and cruise missiles as it endures ongoing Russian assaults across major cities and towns.

“That’s what this is about — helping Ukraine defend and protect Ukrainian land. It is not an offensive threat to Russia, there is no offensive threat to Russia,” Biden said. “If  Russian troops returned to Russia…this war would be over today.”

Biden reiterated that the U.S. diplomatic terms demand a respect for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity as well as the U.N. charter.

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