The next major U.S. military package to be announced on Jan. 20 for Ukraine may not include American M1 Abrams tanks, according to three undisclosed U.S. officials cited by Politico.
The Biden administration has reportedly no plans to send Abrams tanks, but its reluctance is due to logistical and maintenance challenges rather than fear of escalating Russia’s war in Ukraine, a source told Politico.
The package won’t include Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) surface-to-surface missiles either, according to Politico’s sources.
ATACMS can travel 300 kilometers before precisely striking a target - farther than any of the U.S. weapons that have been supplied to Ukraine so far, missiles that Ukraine has been asking for months.
Ukraine’s request for tanks and long-range missiles has been front and center of Kyiv’s diplomatic requests over the last months amid a potential new Russian offensive.
The largest US security package, announced on Jan. 5, totaled more than $3 billion, including Bradley infantry fighting vehicles.
Earlier on Jan. 18, the European Parliament urged Germany to transfer long-pledged Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine “without further delay.”
The members of the European Parliament “stress that Ukraine is defending its territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders and urgently needs military aid and heavy weaponry to win the war.”
On Jan. 18, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said that allies need to step up support to Ukraine.
“If we want peace … then we need to provide military support to Ukraine,” the NATO chief said. He said that NATO and Germany “are in constant dialogue” on the tank delivery.
Ukraine is still in need of Western tanks other than the U.K.’s Challengers, announced on Jan. 14.
On Jan. 11, Polish President Andrzej Duda said that Poland planned to supply a company of modern German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine. But since these tanks are produced in Germany, sending them to Ukraine requires approval from the German government.
Bloomberg reported on Jan. 13, citing two unnamed officials familiar with the matter, that Germany will likely decide on whether to supply Leopard tanks to Ukraine ahead of the Rammstein summit, scheduled for Jan. 20.