How Biden Reluctantly Agreed to Ship Tanks to Ukraine

Some Pentagon officers had been bowled over that German officers had been publicly admitting the hyperlink between the Abrams tanks and the Leopards, one official mentioned, talking on situation of anonymity to debate inside deliberations. He added that officers had thought these communications would solely be inside.

By Monday, officers mentioned each Mr. Austin and Basic Milley had been onboard with sending American tanks to Germany. To make the purpose — or to be seen making the purpose — Mr. Austin referred to as Mr. Biden on Monday to advocate sending the Abrams tanks.

Whereas some lawmakers had advised the USA wanted to ship as few as a single Abrams tank to unlock the German Leopards, the Pentagon leaders mentioned that made no sense. If the USA was going to ship its most superior tank system, it ought to ship a battalion with “fight energy,” one official mentioned.

A Ukrainian battalion has 31 tanks, in order that was the quantity the USA agreed to ship, Pentagon officers mentioned.

A number of particulars nonetheless should be labored out. The Military has not but determined which particular kind of Abrams tanks it is going to ship, Douglas R. Bush, an Military assistant secretary, advised reporters on Wednesday.

The Military has tanks in its stock which may should be revamped — however they won’t should be constructed from scratch by Basic Dynamics. The Military has greater than 1,000 Abrams tanks both able to struggle or in varied states of partial building that might be retrofitted to be used in Ukraine.

The Military should determine between variants of the Abrams tanks which have totally different electronics and a special gun turret, Mr. Bush mentioned, a call to be made by senior Pentagon officers within the coming weeks.

Procuring the tanks will take months, officers mentioned, giving the U.S. army time to coach Ukrainian troopers tips on how to function and keep them. It was unclear whether or not coaching would happen in Germany, the USA or each, Pentagon officers mentioned on Wednesday.

Eric Lipton contributed reporting.