WASHINGTON, January 29. /TASS/. The US announcing that it will deliver its Abrams tanks to Ukraine was the result of a compromise between Washington and Berlin and basically a cover for Germany sending its Leopard 2 tanks to Kiev immediately while the supplies of the US-made vehicles are scheduled to begin later, according to an article in The Washington Post on Saturday.
According to the newspaper which cites conversations with more than a dozen current and former officials as well as those familiar with discussions, Washington and Berlin have not been able to reach a compromise on sending tanks to Kiev for a long time. Washington wanted Kiev to receive the German tanks because the Pentagon thought that it would be easier for Ukrainian troops to learn to handle them and there is a sufficient number of spare parts for them. However, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz was concerned over Moscow’s potential reaction should Berlin act unilaterally and did not want to be perceived as a party to the conflict so he was insisting on the US supplying its Abrams tanks.
According to The Washington Post, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin "was against supplying Abrams tanks he thought were too complicated for near-term use in Ukraine." Another defense official told the newspaper that "the US vehicles were clad with specialized, depleted uranium armor, a classified design that no one wanted Russia to get its hands on."
The newspaper says that US Secretary of State Antony Blinken "suggested a possible workaround" by promising to send Abrams tanks to Ukraine at some later date which would give time to train Ukrainian troops to use them and provide the cover necessary for Berlin to begin its deliveries immediately.
On Wednesday, Washington announced its plans to supply Kiev with 31 M1 Abrams ranks. The German government confirmed that it would send 14 Leopard 2 tanks from Germany’s military stockpiles to Ukraine and issue permits to other countries for their re-export. German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said that the tanks would arrive in Ukraine "by the end of March." On Wednesday, the defense ministries of Norway and Slovakia announced their plans to provide tanks to Kiev. Earlier, the UK, Poland and France said they would send their tanks to Ukraine.
US White House National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby stressed that Leopard tanks would arrive in Ukraine rather soon while it would take months to deliver the US-made Abrams tanks.
Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh also stated that it would take months to send the tanks to Kiev because it is planned to provide them within the framework of the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI) which involves the Department of Defense concluding relevant contracts with manufacturers and not providing various equipment and means directly from the Pentagon’s stockpile.