McCaul calls for US to take first step on heavy tanks for Ukraine

Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) pressed the Biden administration and military leaders on Sunday to send M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine to aid the country in its war against Russia, arguing “we cannot slow-walk the weapons.”

“Let’s give [Ukraine] what they need because when we do, they win,” McCaul, who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said on CNN’s “State of the Union” with Dana Bash on Sunday. “The tanks are vitally important.”

International military leaders in recent days have been unable to come to an agreement on a push to provide battle tanks to Ukraine. The U.S. has been hesitant to send the Abrams tanks to the country, citing the need for specialized training and expensive fuel. Instead, the U.S. has been angling for Germany to send its Leopard 2 tanks.

But German officials have not signed off on providing the tanks to Ukraine, prohibiting other countries that have stockpiles of the equipment from also shipping the weapons to the country.

After talks stalled at a meeting of Western military officials in Germany on Friday, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the allies did not have a long time to pull together a plan to provide Ukraine with the resources that it needs before a counteroffensive.

“What we’re really focused on is making sure that Ukraine has the capability that it needs to be successful right now,” Austin said at a news conference. “So we have a window of opportunity here between now and the spring, whenever they commence their operation, their counteroffensive. And that’s not a long time. And we have to pull together the right capabilities.”

McCaul argued that if the U.S. were to send its Abrams tanks first, then Germany would follow by unleashing its Leopard 2 tanks, saying the U.S. doesn’t have to send “very many.”

“All we have to do is send enough to unleash what Germany has and what the 10 other countries in NATO have,” McCaul said. “NATO has to share the burden.”

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