Ukraine described it as the Great Tank Alliance… Biden decides to send 31 tanks to Kyiv, hours after a similar announcement by Germany and European countries
US President Joe Biden said today, Wednesday, that the United States will send 31 M1 Abrams combat tanks to Ukraine, hours after Germany confirmed that it would transfer its Leopard 2 tanks to the Kyiv government, and a similar announcement from Norway and other European countries. This was welcomed by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and Ukraine described it as the “Great Tank Alliance”.
Biden described the Abrams tanks as “the best in the world” in a speech at the White House. He added that the United States would provide Ukraine with spare parts and equipment in addition to training.
The US President also said that Russian President Vladimir Putin tried to separate the states and their European allies, but failed to do so, and stressed that they are united in their support for Ukraine and keen on its victory in the battle “because it is a battle for freedom.”
Biden confirmed that Britain, France, and Germany will provide combat tanks to Ukraine, noting that supplying Ukraine with tanks came with agreement and cooperation with all US allies.
The US president praised German Chancellor Olaf Schultz’s earlier announcement that 14 Leopard tanks would be sent to Ukraine, saying that “Germany has already taken more responsibility and the chancellor has been a strong voice for unity” among Ukraine’s allies.
The White House and the Pentagon
On the other hand, the White House said that they were clear about the complexities of the Abrams tanks, but the field developments in Ukraine necessitated the speed of their delivery, indicating that the arrival of the tanks to Ukraine may take months, “but the Leopard 2 tanks will arrive faster on the battlefield.”
The White House confirmed that the Abrams tanks do not pose a threat to Russian lands, but rather to Russian soldiers inside Ukraine, adding that the security environment in Europe has changed due to the war and that they have about 100,000 US forces in Europe “and they are staying.”
He stated that Britain, France, and Italy would hand over tanks and armored vehicles to Ukraine, which would affect the course of the battle, noting that Russian President Vladimir Putin is using the winter season to regroup his forces and prepare for a new attack on Ukraine.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby confirmed to Al-Jazeera that activating the tanks on the battlefields will take months, not weeks and that they will start working now, and he said that providing Ukraine with Abrams tanks came after a careful study to increase its military capabilities.
The spokesman also indicated that the Abrams tanks that the United States will send to Ukraine will be of the latest model, and therefore their effectiveness will be great, adding that they will give the Ukrainians superiority in battles and put the Russians under attack.
The spokesman also said that the United States will ensure the provision of all logistics for the operation of Abrams tanks in Ukraine, and will ensure the continuation of the necessary support for Ukraine in the face of any new Russian moves.
Today, Wednesday, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg welcomed Washington’s decision to provide Ukraine with Abrams tanks, and said, “We are united in our support for it to defend itself.”
Stoltenberg, who welcomed Germany’s decision earlier in the day to supply Ukraine with Leopard 2 tanks, added that there is a need to provide heavy weapons to Ukraine to ensure that Putin does not win this war, and said that the Russians are massing their forces, intensifying weapons production and planning a new attack on Ukraine.
Germany had announced its intention to supply 14 Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, in a first step to support Kyiv in its war against Russia, according to what German government spokesman Steffen Hepstreit announced earlier today, indicating that Ukrainian forces will soon be trained in Germany, in addition to providing them with materials. Logistics and ammunition.
Hepstrit explained that the goal is to assemble two armored battalions with Leopard 2 tanks, and German media reported today that Berlin has allied to deliver a total of 80 Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine.
German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius confirmed today, Wednesday, that the first batch of Leopard combat tanks could arrive in Ukraine within about 3 months.
He said that this “is not a cause for celebration,” noting that he has a great understanding for those who are concerned about this step, “but what is clear is that we will not be a party to the war, we are working on this.”
For his part, the German chancellor confirmed that Germany has provided Ukraine with tanks and defensive systems, and will provide it with Patriot systems to defend itself, indicating that the decision to provide it with armored vehicles was made in coordination with France.
The German chancellor attributed his country’s delay in approving the provision of tanks to Ukraine to international coordination and cooperation, and said that “the decision to wait was correct.”
Great Tank Alliance
In a related context, Norwegian Defense Minister Bjorn Arild Gram announced that his country would send combat tanks to Ukraine to help it defend itself.
Before that, Finnish Defense Minister Ante Kaikkonen announced today that his country plans to send tanks to Ukraine, and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said that Amsterdam is also preparing to supply Ukraine with tanks.
It is noteworthy that, in addition to Germany, the United States and the previously mentioned countries, Britain, Poland, France, and Spain have also announced similar plans to send tanks to Kyiv.
The Ukrainian reaction came, welcoming what the Kyiv ambassador in Berlin called the “Great Tank Alliance”, where Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stressed the importance of these tanks in the face of Russia, which is preparing for a new wave of aggression, as he put it.
He also considered that the introduction of the American Abrams tanks “is an important step on the path to victory and the free world unites in an unprecedented way with the goal of liberating Ukraine.”
For its part, the Russian Foreign Ministry criticized the provision of German tanks to Ukraine, saying that this matter is part of a pre-planned war against Russia.
The Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said that the United States is dragging Europe into a major war.
For his part, Russia’s ambassador to Berlin, Sergei Nechaev, said today, Wednesday, that “Berlin’s decision to supply Leopard tanks to Kyiv is very dangerous, because it will raise the conflict to a new level of confrontation.”
The Russian ambassador added that the decision contradicts German politicians’ declarations of their unwillingness to be drawn into the conflict, and believed that Berlin and its Western partners “are not interested in a diplomatic solution to the Ukrainian crisis, but are counting on escalation.”
Nechaev pointed out that German tanks would be sent again to the “Eastern Front”, which would not only mean the death of Russian soldiers, but also the death of the civilian population.
As for Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, he said that any American tank sent to Ukraine “will burn like other tanks.”
On the field level, the Ukrainian army said that Russia is mobilizing its forces in large numbers and intensifying its attacks on Donetsk, in the east of the country.
And the Ukrainian government admitted – earlier today, Wednesday – that it had lost control of the town of Solidar, which witnessed fierce fighting in the Donetsk region, in eastern Ukraine.
And Russian units had previously announced full control of Solidar at the beginning of last week, but the Ukrainians denied this.
“Battles are raging” in the vicinity of Bakhmut, which Russian forces have been trying to control for months, as well as in the vicinity of Voglidar, a city southwest of Donetsk, Ghana Maliar, the Ukrainian deputy defense minister, said via Telegram.
For his part, the Al-Jazeera correspondent said that explosions occurred today in Kherson, Zaporizhia, and Dnipro, and ground defenses were activated in several provinces in southern Ukraine, adding that the Ukrainian army warns of a massive missile attack, and an air alert has been declared in the entire south of the country.