26 Jan 2023 10:26

Biden announces decision to send 31 M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine

WASHINGTON. Jan 26 (Interfax) - United States President Joe Biden has announced a decision on sending 31 M1 Abrams battle tanks to Ukraine.

"Today, I am announcing that the United States will be sending 31 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, the equivalent of one Ukrainian battalion. Secretary [of Defense Lloyd] Austin has recommended this step," Biden said at a press conference on Wednesday.

Biden warned that it would take some time to transfer the tanks, but said the U.S. will spend this time on training Ukrainian service members to operate the M1 Abrams, which would start shortly.

He also reiterated that the U.S. will continue to support Ukraine.

Earlier on Wednesday, Bloomberg said with reference to sources that the U.S. would earmark $400 million for General Dynamics Corp. to manufacture 31 M1 Abrams tanks.

The M1 Abrams entered service in 1980 and now serves as the main battle tank of the U.S. Army. Over 2,600 different variants of Abrams tanks are currently in service with the U.S. Army, and over 3,450 others are in storage.

Germany also decided on Wednesday to transfer the first shipment of 14 Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine and to allow its allies to transfer Leopard tanks to that country, as well.