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The Pentagon is rushing Ukrainian tanks after claiming the US didn’t have enough

The Pentagon is rushing Ukrainian tanks after claiming the US didn’t have enough

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Ukraine war

April 24, 2023 | 7:07 p.m

WASHINGTON — The Department of Defense has apparently found enough M1 Abrams tanks to refurbish and deliver to Ukraine after initially claiming deliveries would take a year or more due to inventory shortages.

“We’ve accelerated our M1 Abrams schedules to provide Ukraine with more armored capabilities in the coming months, and the M1s that the Ukrainians will use for training will arrive here in Germany in the next few weeks,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told reporters late. last week. “All of this is tremendous progress.”

The Pentagon announced on January 25 that it would send 31 first-class American tanks to Ukraine after expressing ambivalence about the idea less than a week earlier.

The announcement came on the same day that Germany said it would send its Leopard 2 battle tanks to Kiev, following pressure from the United States and other allies.

At the time, the Biden administration said it would take up to a year for Kiev to receive the US tanks because they would not come from US stockpiles, but be purchased new with money approved by Congress as part of the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative.

“We don’t have these excess tanks in our US inventory, which is why it will take months to get these M1A2 Abrams tanks to Ukraine,” spokeswoman Sabrina Singh told The Post on January 26.

But Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, indicated Friday that the plan had changed, announcing that American tanks were “being refurbished to expedite their delivery” as he spoke alongside Austin after a meeting of the US-led Ukrainian defense forces. Contact Group in Ramstein, Germany.

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“Within a couple of weeks, you’re going to get training tanks – and these aren’t quite combat-capable – and they’re going to be used to train crews how to shoot, maneuver and maintain these tanks,” Milley said. “This will be part of the support package to train them while other tanks are being refurbished.”

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin (R) said the US has accelerated its M1 Abrams schedules to supply Ukraine.
Thomas Lunis/Getty Images
Ukrainian soldiers ride a tank along a road in the town of Chasev Yar near a front line in Donetsk region, Ukraine on April 22, 2023.
Reuters

Pentagon spokesman Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said Monday that the refurbished tanks will be delivered before 2024 and “produced to Ukraine’s specifications” for use “in actual combat.”

“[Sending training tanks] It will enable us to do simultaneous training with tank production which again replenish tanks. “[It] It allows us to speed up the schedule so that they can train for maintenance operations on support, and then marry personnel with tanks before the end of the year for delivery to Ukraine.”

This accelerated pace comes after recently leaked Pentagon documents revealed that the Ukrainian military is in a much more dangerous situation than the United States publicly admits.

For example, one document stated that the Ukrainian air defenses guarding the front-line forces would be “completely reduced” by May 23 unless they were reinforced.

But Austin said the surprising timeline will help ensure that Ukrainian forces can continue to fight the Russian invaders.

“I am confident that this equipment and the accompanying training will put Ukrainian forces in a position to continue to succeed on the battlefield,” he said.

The main tanks are heading to Ukraine after the Pentagon expressed its rejection of the idea.
AP Photo/Libkos

Echoing Austin, Milley said he believed the M1, which he called “the best tank in the world,” would “make a difference” once it was delivered.

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“when [the tanks] Get in here and those crews are trained and used in a combined arms maneuver tactic along with mechanized infantry, Bradley [fighting vehicles,] They will be very effective,” he said.

However, Melly warned observers not to put all of Ukraine’s eggs in the M1 basket.

“There is no silver bullet in war. The outcome of battles and wars is a function of many, many variables.” In that case, you would have to make sure your tanks are used in joint arms with mechanized infantry and artillery — all in sync with dismounted forces, et cetera.

“So there is no silver bullet in this case, but I think the M1 tank, when it is delivered and reaches its operational capacity, will be very effective on the battlefield.”


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