The United States announced that it will send 31 powerful battle tanks to Ukraine, joining Germany in supporting the fight against Russia’s invasion. The decision to deliver the M1 Abrams tanks was announced just hours after Germany said it would send 14 of its Leopard 2 tanks to the battlefield. Berlin also cleared the way for other European countries to send German-made tanks from their own stocks.
Ukraine has been lobbying Western allies to send military equipment for months. It hailed the twin announcements as a turning point that would allow its military to regain momentum and take back occupied territory almost a year after Moscow invaded. It also said the tanks could help deter a potential Russian offensive in the spring. “An important step on the path to victory,” Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said. “Today the free world is united as never before for a common goal – liberation of Ukraine.”
Russia, meanwhile, condemned the moves as a “blatant provocation” and said any supplied tanks would be destroyed. “These tanks burn like all the rest. They are just very expensive,” President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman said.
The decision to send the heavy weapons follows weeks of diplomatic wrangling. Germany faced mounting international pressure to send the tanks, and there are reports that the eventual decision to do so was conditional on the US doing the same. When asked if the US decision was designed to give Germany cover to send tanks, national security spokesman John Kirby said: “I wouldn’t use the word cover. What this decision does do is show how unified we are with our allies