President Joe Biden’s administration is considering sending “significant numbers” of M1 Abrams tanks to help Ukraine defend against an invasion by Russia. An official announcement could come this week, Politico reported, citing two unnamed U.S. officials.
Political reporter Lara Seligman tweeted that a source told her the US is considering sending 30 to 50 tanks.
READ MORE: A look at the capabilities of the US Army’s M1 Abrams supertank
The tanks will likely be provided through Ukraine’s Security Assistance Initiative, which allows the government to buy new equipment rather than transfer it from US stockpiles, a third source told Politico on condition of anonymity.
According to POLITICO, the M1 Abrams tanks currently in the US military’s motor pools would have to undergo a costly and lengthy process of removing sensitive equipment before being sent to Ukraine.
The news came as Germany decided to send its own Leopard 2 battle tanks as well as allow other countries to do so, Reuters reported, citing unnamed sources. The move followed days of back-and-forth wrangling over Germany’s reluctance to send advanced tanks to the war, which is now entering its second year.
Biden is now leaning toward sending Abrams tanks, against Pentagon advice, after a Jan. 17 call with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, the Wall Street Journal reported. Scholz told US lawmakers last week that Germany would not send Leopard tanks until the United States agreed to send Abrams tanks, POLITICO reported.
The prospect of M1 Abrams tanks entering the Ukraine war also comes as the US prepares to send Stryker armored vehicles for the first time, as well as more Bradley fighting vehicles, as part of a $2.5 billion security package of dollars, CNN reported. The package brings total US security assistance to $26.7 billion since the war began in February.