President Biden announced Wednesday that he plans to send 31 M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, reversing the administration’s longstanding resistance to requests from Kyiv for the highly sophisticated but maintenance-heavy vehicles, reports CNN.
The Abrams will take months to arrive, senior administration officials said, and will require extensive training for Ukrainian troops on how to operate and service them. The US must navigate complicated supply chains for the components required for the tanks.
As recently as last week, top US officials cited those obstacles as barriers to providing the vehicles to Ukraine. Yet after an intensive bout of diplomacy with Germany, who had made clear it would only send its Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine if the United States offered up the Abrams, Biden has given the sign-off on sending the vehicles. The 31 Abrams will form a complete Ukrainian tank battalion.