US-NATO Send Tanks to Ukraine as Major War Rages Ahead 'Without Shedding American Blood'
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As the war in Ukraine approaches its second year, the United States and Germany are upping their ante in support of Ukraine – now sending tanks to help fight the Russians.
"I'm announcing, that the United States will be sending 31 Abram tanks to Ukraine," President Biden said Wednesday. "The equivalent of one Ukrainian battalion."
NATO allies are also sending help. The U.K. has pledged to send 14 of its Challenger 2 battle tanks, and Germany is releasing 14 Leopard 2 tanks – with up to 60 more Leopards coming from other countries.
Peter Rough with the Hudson Institute believes the move creates shared escalatory risk.
"The Germans are really the key in this – because the Leopard 2 which is really what the Ukrainians want," Rough said. "There are many Leopard 2's in Europe – there's a thriving spare parts market across the continent. They wanted that battle tank and because it is a German system, they would have to provide it directly or greenlight other countries which have bought other Leopard 2's to pass those on to Ukraine."
The German tanks should be arriving in weeks while the U.S. Abrams tanks could take up to a year since the U.S. is manufacturing new ones for the Ukrainians.
"Given the weather in Ukraine and the famous Rasputitsa season – a kind of mud season – it'll be hard to move on anything other than paved road," Rough said. "When the ground hardens for the summer we may see a major Ukrainian offensive."
Wednesday's announcement is a reversal of U.S. policy. The Biden administration has delivered dozens of packages of military aid – the latest totaling more than $5 billion in the last month alone.
"Together with our allies and partners, we've sent more than 3,000 armored vehicles, more than 8,000 artillery systems, more than 2 million rounds of artillery and ammunition, and more than 50 advanced multi-rocket systems," President Biden said.
Rough told CBN News it's important to know a lot of that money never leaves the United States because it's money spent on U.S. systems that go to the Ukrainians.
"I would say we're (the U.S.) getting a pretty good deal because they help dictate terms against the Russians in a major war without shedding American blood," Rough said.
The Kremlin responded by calling the move blatant provocation. Wednesday, the Russian ministry released a video claiming to show a warship conducting hypersonic missile drills in "Western areas of the Atlantic Ocean."
Ukrainian President Zelenskyy requested up to 300 tanks. He thanked Biden via tweet, now asking for F-16 fighter jets.
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