The U.S. and Germany both said Wednesday they would send dozens of tanks to Ukraine, a major shift in aid that gives the war-torn nation more firepower against Russia.
Berlin officials said they would send 14 of their own tanks – and will allow others to send their own German-made tanks – in an about-face from its previous position. U.S. President Joe Biden followed suit shortly thereafter, announcing plans to send 31 Abrams tanks to Ukraine.
Germany was reportedly reluctant to send its own tanks unless the U.S. did the same, and a defense summit in Germany last Friday had failed to reach an agreement over tanks, so the U-turn expected Wednesday would signal an unified position has been reached.
Russia’s ambassador to Germany, Sergey Nechayev, called Berlin’s move an “extremely dangerous decision.”
Ukraine has requested modern tanks from its allies for months but only the U.K. had so far responded, pledging to send 14 of Challenger 2 tanks.
Just how many tanks Ukraine could receive in total from the U.S., Germany and others will be the big issue now. Kyiv has said a number of times that it needs hundreds of tanks to fight Russia, particularly ahead of expected spring offensives.
Zelenskyy said Tuesday that a decision on tanks is needed as Russia is preparing “for a new wave of aggression – with the forces it can mobilize.”