FILE PHOTO: A Marder armoured infantry fighting vehicle of the German army Bundeswehr is pictured at Rukla military base, Lithuania April 22, 2022. REUTERS/Alexander Ratz/File Photo

After being reluctant for months, the US and Germany are reportedly planning to send tanks to Ukraine. Kyiv hopes this will change the way the battle goes.

The government of US President Joe Biden is likely to say that at least 30 M1 Abrams tanks will be sent.

Olaf Scholz, the German chancellor, is also said to have decided to send at least 14 Leopard 2 tanks. On Wednesday morning, he will talk in parliament.

The ambassador of Russia to the US called the news “another clear provocation.”

And a spokesman for the Kremlin said that Germany’s decision would do “nothing good” and leave “a lasting mark” on relations with Russia.

Ukrainian officials say they need heavier weapons right away and that enough battle tanks could help their forces take back territory from the Russians.

But until now, the US and Germany have resisted pressure from both inside and outside their countries to send tanks to Ukraine.

Washington has said that the high-tech Abrams needs a lot of training and maintenance.

Germans have had to deal with months of painful political debates because they were worried that sending tanks would make the situation worse and bring NATO directly into the war with Russia.

What kinds of weapons are going to Ukraine?
“We need tanks from the West. My tank is as old as I am.”

US media say that a decision about sending Abrams tanks to Ukraine could be made as soon as Wednesday. Unnamed officials are said to have said that at least 30 tanks could be sent.

But the timetable is still not clear, and it could take many months for US combat vehicles to get to the front lines.

Officials in Germany were said to have said that they would only agree to send Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine if the US also sent M1 Abrams.

“If the Germans keep saying that we won’t send or release Leopards unless the U.S. sends Abrams, then we should send Abrams,” Democratic Senator and Biden ally Chris Coons told Politico on Tuesday.

Britain has already said that it will send Challenger Two tanks to Ukraine.

Poland, which is one of 16 European and NATO countries with German-made Leopard 2 tanks, wants to send them to Ukraine but needs permission from Berlin to do so because of export rules.
Even though the German government hasn’t said anything official about the reports, the head of the German parliament’s defense committee, Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann of the liberal FDP party, was happy to hear them.

“The decision was hard, and it took a long time, but in the end it was unavoidable,” she said, adding that it would be a relief for “the battered and brave Ukrainian people.” In recent days, the Allies had been frustrated by what they saw as Germany’s unwillingness to send the armored vehicles.

Boris Pistorius, who is in charge of German defense, said earlier that Berlin had given other countries permission to teach Ukrainians how to use Leopard 2 tanks, but did not promise to send their own.

Andriy Yermak, who is the chief of staff for the president of Ukraine, asked the West on Tuesday to send hundreds of tanks to Kyiv so that it can make a “crushing fist” against Russia.

“Tanks are one of the things Ukraine needs to get back to the borders it had in 1991,” he wrote on Telegram.

Anatoly Antonov, Russia’s ambassador to the U.S., wrote on Telegram, “If the U.S. decides to send tanks, arguing that they are “defensive weapons” will not be a good reason.

“This would be yet another clear attempt to provoke the Russian Federation.”

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