The United States will send 31 main battle tanks to Ukraine to join Germany in sending vehicles to support the fight against Russian aggression.

Within hours of Germany announcing the deployment of 14 of its Leopard 2 tanks, the US decided to deliver M1 Abrams tanks.

Berlin also cleared the way for other European countries to ship German-made tanks from their own stocks.

Ukraine had been lobbying Western allies for months to send military equipment.

The two announcements were hailed as a turning point that would help his military regain momentum and retake territory it captured nearly a year after it attacked Moscow.

Ukraine also said the tanks could help repel a possible Russian offensive in the spring.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the victory was an important step. Today the free world is united, which has never been united in the goal of liberating Ukraine.

Russia, meanwhile, blamed the move as a “terrible provocation,” saying the supplied tanks would be destroyed at any time. A spokesman for President Vladimir Putin said these tanks burned like all the others. They are very expensive.’

Announcing the decision at the White House on Wednesday, President Joe Biden said Putin hoped Europe and the United States would weaken their resolve. He was wrong from the beginning and continues to be wrong.

“We are also providing Ukraine with the parts and equipment necessary to effectively sustain these tanks in combat,” Biden said.

He said this tank is to help Ukraine defend and protect its land. It is not an offensive threat to Russia.

Biden said a Ukrainian tank battalion typically consists of 31 tanks, which is why Biden agreed to that number.

The American-made military vehicle is one of the world’s most advanced battle tanks and requires extensive training to operate. The $400 million American package also includes eight recovery vehicles that can tow the tanks if they get stuck

Experts are coming, but it may take months for the tanks to reach the battlefield. Because they will be purchased from private contractors and not shipped from existing stock.

The German-built Leopard 2 tanks, will be shipped from existing stock and are expected to arrive in two to three months.

Asked if the U.S. decision was to provide cover for sending German tanks, national security spokesman John Kirby said, “I wouldn’t use the word cover.” This decision shows how united we are with our allies.

He blamed Russia’s strategy for the shift in Washington’s stance, without elaborating further.

(January 26/FA)