Washington: Training Ukrainian forces to use M1 Abrams tanks will take weeks


The strategic communications coordinator for national security at the White House, John Kirby said that training Ukrainian forces to use the M1 Abrams tanks will take weeks, not months”.

This came in a press statement after US President Joe Biden officially announced the supply of 31 Abrams M1 tanks to Ukrainian forces to help Kyiv confront Russian attacks.

Kirby added that the decision to provide Ukraine with advanced Western tanks “was the result of a diplomatic and military effort”.

He explained that the Pentagon will likely need weeks, not months to complete the final touches on the tank training plan and its delivery.

Kirby said, “How long will it take? I really can’t say… But don’t think it takes too long… I’d say probably weeks, not months”.

On the other hand, Kirby indicated the possibility of Kyiv continuing its attempt to obtain more military capabilities, including Western fighters.

“We’re in constant discussions with the Ukrainians about their capabilities, and as I said, we develop those capabilities as circumstances change”.

On Wednesday, US president Joe Biden announced, that the United States will deliver Kyiv with 31 M1 Abrams tanks, stressing that this military aid will enhance the ability of Ukrainian forces to repel the ongoing Russian attack.

Biden’s approval to give Ukraine Abrams tanks came after an appeal from Kyiv, and coordination with Washington’s allies and partners in Europe.

In addition to the tanks, the United States will give Ukraine 8 M88 armored vehicles, to support the Abrams tanks in the event of any malfunction, and to allow maintenance to be carried out on the battlefield.

Prior to Biden’s decision, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz settled the issue of handing over Leopard 2 tanks to the Ukrainian army, announcing Berlin’s agreement to send 14 combat tanks of this type to Kyiv.

Kyiv had appealed to hand over the German Leopard 2 tanks, but obtaining them even from the countries that possess them requires Berlin’s approval.

Berlin didn’t take the decision to hand over this type of tank to Kiev, except after completing extensive consultations with its allies, which lasted for weeks.

The Leopard 2 is distinguished by providing comprehensive protection for its crew from threats such as improvised explosive devices, mines and anti-tank fire.

It is noteworthy that NATO countries fear that supplying Ukraine with military equipment will escalate the pace of the conflict and turn it into a war with Russia.

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