WASHINGTON DC – The Pentagon on Thursday announced a new $2.5 billion military aid package for Ukraine with armored cars and anti-aircraft defense, but without the Abrams tanks that Germany had asked it to provide.
In a statement, the US Department of Defense reported that it would send 59 Bradley battle tanks to Kyiv, carrying 590 TOW anti-tank missiles and 295,000 pieces of 25-millimetre ammunition.
Similarly, it will allocate Ukraine eight Avenger anti-aircraft defense systems, 350 Humvee all-terrain vehicles, 20,000 155-mm artillery pieces and 90 Stryker armored vehicles with 20 demining devices.
The package also includes HARM air-to-surface missiles, which are used to destroy radar-equipped air defense systems; 2,000 anti-armor rockets, and 3 million small arms ammunition.
The Pentagon said the latest airstrikes on Ukraine’s “critical” infrastructure demonstrated “the devastating effect of Russia’s brutal war”.
He insisted that the 59 Bradleys would join the fifty he had announced on 6 January and that together with the 90 Strykers would mean two armored brigades for Ukraine.
The Pentagon assured this Thursday that it no longer makes sense for the US to send Abrams tanks to Ukraine, as Germany has requested in return for providing 2 Leopard main battle tanks.
US Department of Defense Press Under Secretary Sabrina Singh told a press conference that it was a matter of maintenance.
The Abrams “is a tank that needs jet fuel, whereas the Leopard and Challenger (these are the latest British tanks going to Ukraine) have a different engine, they need diesel, they’re a bit easier to maintain,” Singh said. .
US Defense Secretary, Lloyd Austin is visiting Germany, where he met this Thursday with his German counterpart, Boris Pistorius, who assured that his country will continue to support Ukraine along with its allies to protect itself, But not mentioned the question of the contribution of Leopard 2 tanks.
This Friday, Austin is expected to attend a Ukraine Contact Group meeting in the presence of allies at the US Ramstein airbase in western Germany, where commitments of concrete military aid from Western powers are expected.
Authorities are considering all possible hypotheses about the helicopter that crashed and caused the death of Interior Minister Denis Monastirsky.
At the center of the discussion is the shipment of German-made Leopard 2 armored fighting vehicles, which Ukraine has requested.
The German line has so far been to coordinate the shipment with the allies and according to German media reports, Chancellor Olaf Scholz told US President Joe Biden that his country would send the Leopard 2 only if the US also sent the Abrams tank.
Singh recalled that the US has already provided Bradley battle tanks to Ukraine and will continue to send the equipment to Kyiv.
Although similar to a tank, Bradleys are main battle tanks with lighter armor and a smaller gun, typically a 25 mm compared to the 120 mm Abrams.
Despite the fact that America has many armored cars, the Abrams is the only proper tank: it is large in size, has a movable turret equipped with a large gun and has caterpillar traction.
Since the start of the Russian invasion on February 24, the US has sent more than $26.7 billion in military aid to Ukraine.