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US and Germany to send dozens of tanks to help Ukraine fight off Russian invasion

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By Nandita Bose, Andreas Rinke and Tom Balmforth

WASHINGTON/BERLIN/KYIV (RockedBuzz via Reuters) – The United States said Wednesday it would supply Ukraine with 31 of its most advanced tanks after Germany broke a taboo with a similar announcement, moves Kiev hailed as a potential game changer in his battle to repel the invasion of Russia.

The US decision to deliver the M1 Abrams tanks helped break a diplomatic snag with Germany over how best to help Kiev in its war with Russia, which hours earlier condemned Berlin’s decision to supply Leopard 2 tanks as a dangerous provocation.

Washington had been wary of the idea of ​​deploying the hard-to-maintain Abrams, but had to change tack to get Germany to send its easier-to-maneuver Leopard 2 tanks – the workhorse of NATO armies across Europe – in Ukraine.

President Joe Biden announced the US decision in a White House speech, saying tanks were needed to help Ukrainians “improve their ability to maneuver in open terrain.”

Biden thanked Germany for its move and listed additional military hardware that NATO allies and other European countries were supplying. “Germany have really stepped up,” he said.

“The expectation on Russia’s part is that we will separate,” Biden said of the United States and European allies. “But we are fully, totally and completely united.”

Kiev has been calling for months for Western main battle tanks that would give its forces greater firepower, protection and mobility to break through long static front lines and potentially reclaim occupied territory to the east and south.

Senior Biden administration officials said it would take several months for the Abrams to be delivered and described the move as a long-term defense of Ukraine.

“There is no offensive threat to Russia (itself),” Biden said. Moscow increasingly sees the war as a dangerous confrontation between Russia and the US-led NATO alliance.


The White House said Biden spoke Wednesday with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, French President Emmanuel Macron and Prime Ministers Giorgia Meloni of Italy and Rishi Sunak of Britain about their nations’ cooperation in support of Kiev.

Germany, previously the West’s resistance amid deep reluctance to export offensive weapons given its Nazi past, said it would send an initial company of 14 of its Leopard 2 tanks from its own stocks and would also approve shipments from part of the allied European states.

The ultimate goal would be to supply Ukraine with two battalions of Leopards, typically consisting of three or four companies each, the first to arrive within three to four months.

“Germany will always be at the forefront when it comes to supporting Ukraine,” Scholz told the German parliament.

Scholz later said that Germany would send additional military aid to Kiev in addition to delivering the Leopards, including air defense, heavy artillery and multiple rocket launchers, for example.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy hailed Washington’s decision on Abrams tanks and thanked Scholz for the Leopards. He tweeted: “Today the free world is united as never before for a common goal,” which he described as the liberation of Ukraine.

“The main thing is that this is just the beginning. We need hundreds of tanks,” Andriy Yermak, head of Ukraine’s presidential administration, said in a Telegram post.


The German and US moves have definitively demolished one of the last taboos of Western support for Ukraine: providing weapons that have a predominantly offensive rather than defensive purpose. The West has been reluctant to send heavy offensive weapons for fear of provoking Russia’s nuclear power.

Russia reacted furiously to Germany’s decision, saying Berlin was abandoning its “historic responsibility to Russia” stemming from Nazi crimes in WWII when Hitler’s forces invaded the Soviet Union.

“This extremely dangerous decision takes the conflict to a new level of confrontation,” said Sergei Nechayev, Moscow’s ambassador to Germany.

Pledges to Ukraine by other countries fielding Pardi, which Germany has made by the thousands and exported to NATO allies, multiplied this week as the big powers, the United States and Germany, appeared to settle differences over the their approach.

Finland and Norway have announced sending the Leopards, as has Poland, which has already sought Berlin’s approval.

Spain and the Netherlands said they were considering it. Britain has offered a company of 14 of its comparable Challenger tanks and France is considering sending its own Leclercs.

Moscow says supplies of modern offensive weapons to Ukraine will only delay what it says will be its inevitable victory. Anatoly Antonov, the Russian ambassador in Washington, said the US tank deliveries would be “another blatant provocation”.


Since Ukraine retook some territory in the summer and autumn of 2022, the war has become a bloody and seamless one, and Kiev believes Western heavy weapons can restore its momentum.

Kiev acknowledged Wednesday that its forces had withdrawn from Soledar, a small salt-mining town in the east that Russia said it had captured more than a week ago, its biggest gain in more than six months.

The city is close to Bakhmut, a larger city that has been the focus of an intense Russian assault for weeks.

The Russian-installed governor of Ukraine’s Donetsk region said units of the Russian Wagner contract militia were now advancing inside Bakhmut, with fighting on the outskirts and in recently Ukrainian-held neighborhoods.

RockedBuzz via Reuters could not verify the situation there.

In the 11 months since its invasion, Russia has killed thousands of civilians, driven millions from their homes and reduced entire cities to rubble.

He says his “special military operation” was needed to stem a security threat stemming from Ukraine’s ties to the West, which he now describes as an attempt to destroy it. Kiev and its allies say Ukraine has never threatened Russia and the invasion is a war of aggression to subjugate a neighbor and seize land.

(Reporting by the RockedBuzz via Reuters offices; writing by Peter Graff and Mark Heinrich; editing by Kevin Liffey, Timothy Heritage, William Maclean)

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