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Despite concerns, US to send 31 Abrams tanks to Ukraine

A soldier walks past a line of M1 Abrams tanks, Nov. 29, 2016, at Fort Carson in Colorado Springs, Colo.  (Christian Murdock/The Gazette via AP, File)
A soldier walks past a line of M1 Abrams tanks, Nov. 29, 2016, at Fort Carson in Colorado Springs, Colo. (Christian Murdock/The Gazette via AP, File)

US President Joe Biden announce that the US will send 31 M1 Abrams battle tanks to Ukraine, reversing months of persistent arguments that the tanks were too difficult for Ukrainian troops to operate and maintain.

The US decision came on the heels of Germany agreeing to send 14 Leopard 2 A6 tanks from its own stocks. Germany had said the Leopards would not be sent unless the US put its Abrams on the table, not wanting to incur Russia’s wrath without the US similarly committing its own tanks.

Biden said that in total European allies have agreed to send enough tanks to equip two Ukrainian tank battalions, or a total of 62 tanks.

“With spring approaching, Ukrainian forces are working to defend the territory they hold and preparing for additional counter offenses,” Biden says in his announcement of his decision to send the tanks. “To liberate their land, they need to be able to counter Russia’s evolving tactics and strategy on the battlefield in the very near term.”

The announcement ends a standoff between Germany and the United States. Biden administration officials on Wednesday sought to downplay any friction between the two countries as both unveiled their plans.

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