Washington — President Biden is set to deliver remarks on the United States’ “continued support for Ukraine” on Wednesday as the U.S. prepares to send tanks to the country to provide much-needed firepower for Ukrainian troops fighting off Russian invaders.
AsTuesday, the U.S. is now poised to send dozens of its top-of-the-line battle tank, the M-1 Abrams, to after insisting for weeks that the systems were too complex to operate and maintain. Ukraine has been asking for the Abrams tanks for months amid fierce fighting in the country’s disputed east.
The U.S. officials cautioned that it will take some time to deliver the tanks and train Ukrainian soldiers to operate and maintain them effectively. But once operational, the tanks will give Ukraine major new capabilities to launch offensives against dug-in Russian troops.
The U.S.Ukrainian soldiers on the use of another heavy weapon, the Patriot missile defense system, in Oklahoma earlier this month, the Pentagon said. Roughly 100 Ukrainian soldiers are learning to operate the truck-mounted launching system, which will help shield Ukraine from Russian aerial bombardment. Training on the Patriot system is expected to take several months.
Germany also said Wednesday that it would sendto Ukraine, and approve re-export of the same kind of tanks from partner countries like Poland. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told a German TV network that the tanks from Western allies will provide a much-needed morale boost to his soldiers on the front lines.
“They do only one very important thing — they motivate our soldiers to fight for their own values, because they show that the whole world is with you,” Zelenskyy told Germany’s ARD network.
Mr. Biden’s address comes ahead of the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion next month. The U.S. has committed more than $26.7 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since the beginning of the Biden administration.
David Martin, Eleanor Watson and Haley Ott contributed reporting.