War in Ukraine: by announcing sending of tanks to kyiv, Joe Biden favors unity with Europeans

The 31 Abrams M1 will not be delivered for several months, but the decision of the American president constitutes a major reversal and has made it possible to unlock the help of Germany.

By Piotr Smolar (Washington, correspondent)

The unity of allies above all, beyond military assessments: it is this strategic priority which pushed Joe Biden, against the initial opinion of the Pentagon, to accept the delivery of M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine . The American president confirmed, Wednesday, January 25, that his country would provide 31 tanks of this type in kyiv, a number equivalent to a complete Ukrainian battalion. But it will take “months, rather than weeks”, according to a senior administration official, before these equipment arrived on the front line. It is likely that they will not even succeed in 2023. On the other hand, a training program for Ukrainian specialists should start as soon as possible.

The Abrams will be acquired through the Ukraine security assistance initiative, instead of being simply levied on already available stocks. This chariot is considered a first -rate asset of the American army. But its deployment is hardly self -evident. It requires a sophisticated initiation, both to manage to master its use on a war theater and to ensure its continuous maintenance. The tanks cannot advance long independently. They need to be supported at the back by a logistics chain, ranging from maintenance trucks to fuel oil supplies. The United States will notably provide eight M88 troubleshooting tanks, as an accompaniment to the Abrams.

Despite these reservations and a delivery schedule that does not correspond to the emergency of the moment for kyiv, it is a real turnaround, after weeks of purely technical and operational considerations on the Abrams tanks. This new commitment does not constitute a paradigm shift in American military aid – 27 billion dollars (24.7 billion euros) since the start of the conflict – but a cross -cutting, still unthinkable a few months ago.

The arbitration of the White House, made public on the day of the anniversary of the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, essentially has a political aim. It was a question of giving additional wages to Germany, so that Chancellor Olaf Scholz succeeds in overcoming the interior blockages about Leopard tanks – he announced the expedition of fourteen of them earlier during the day, Wednesday. The Biden administration has shown great skill in the bilateral relationship, not exercising public pressure on Berlin, holding any possible irritation and finally paying tribute to the “leadership” of the Chancellor, according to the word of Joe Biden.

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/Media reports cited above.