The Biden administration is reportedly “finalizing” plans to ship M1 Abrams to Kiev
© Getty Images / Chung Sung-jun
US President Joe Biden’s administration has reportedly dismissed objections to sending M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine and will make an announcement as soon as this week on providing a “significant number” of the heavily armored behemoths to Kiev.
US officials are “finalizing” plans to ship battle tanks to Ukraine, perhaps partly to persuade Germany to provide some of its Leopard 2 tanks to the former Soviet republic, CNN reported on Tuesday, citing three unidentified people familiar with the discussions. The Pentagon had previously opposed the idea, arguing that the tanks would be too difficult for Ukrainian forces to operate and maintain as they fight Russian forces.
While an announcement of the decision may come within the next few days, it could take months to deploy M1 Abrams tanks on the battlefield. Ukrainian troops will have to be trained to operate the tanks, which are far different from their Soviet-era T-72 models. The M1 Abrams is powered by a jet engine and guzzles aviation fuel, rather than standard diesel. It weighs 63 tons and travels about three miles per gallon.