America’s top military officer said the Pentagon will ship 31 Abrams Tanks to Europe next month. Once in Germany, Ukrainian soldiers will train on the weapons platform until the tanks and troops are deployed to the battlefield.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley, made the announcement while meeting with NATO partners in Germany. Milley said the tanks were not a silver bullet, but he believes "when it’s delivered and it reaches its operational capability, [it] will be very effective on the battlefield."
The White House authorized sending Abrams Tanks to Ukraine in January. Initially, the US planned to purchase new tanks for Kiev. However, last month, the Pentagon announced that it had accelerated the timetable for providing the main battle tanks. In order to accommodate the shorter timeline, the Department of Defense planned to refurbish and transfer tanks already in the American stockpile.
For nearly a year after the Russian invasion, the Joe Biden administration refused Kiev’s request for the provision of Western-made tanks. The White House authorized the transfer of Abrams Tanks to increase the pressure on Berlin to allow the German-made Leopard-2 tanks to be transferred to Ukraine.
The scheme worked and resulted in Berlin sending 14 of its Leopard 2 tanks to Kiev. Additionally, the German government has allowed several other European states to send their Leopards to Ukraine.
On Friday, NATO defense ministers announced the alliance would create a hub to repair Leopard tanks in Poland near the border with Ukraine. Member states pledged about $220 million in funding for the facility this year.
Milley said 200-300 Ukrainian troops will travel to Germany to train on the Abrams tanks in a ten-week course. Milley added that the US had already trained 9,000 Ukrainian soldiers and was in the process of getting 2,500 more troops prepared for battle.