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US lawmakers call for giving Ukraine Abrams tanks to ensure delivery of Leopards

by The Kyiv Independent news deskJanuary 22, 2023 9:36 pm

US lawmakers call for giving Ukraine Abrams tanks to ensure delivery of LeopardsAn M1 Abrams tank (Wikimedia).

Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, on Jan. 22 called for giving Ukraine U.S.-made Abrams tanks as a way to push Germany to allow the delivery of German-made Leopard tanks to Ukraine. 

There have been media reports that Germany would allow the delivery of Leopard tanks to Ukraine if the U.S. supplied Abrams tanks to Kyiv. However, the German government has denied making such a demand. 

The U.S. has so far refused to supply Abrams tanks to Ukraine, while Germany has failed to make a decision on supplying Leopard tanks. 

"If we announced we were going to give Abrams tanks, just one ... what I hear is that Germany is waiting for us to take the lead. Then they would put Leopard tanks in. And remember, there are about 10 countries that have Leopard tanks, but they need Germany to sign off," McCaul said in an interview with ABC News.

The U.S. official said that since “there’s gonna be a winter offensive by the Russians,” Ukraine needs “these tanks on the eastern flank in the Donbas.”

McCaul said that Ukraine also needs the ATACMS, the longer-range surface-to-surface missiles, in order to “hit Crimea where the Iranian drones are.”

Meanwhile, Democratic Senator Chris Coons told ABC that "if it requires our sending some Abrams tanks to unlock getting the Leopard tanks from Germany, from Poland, from other allies, I would support that." 

"I respect that our military leaders think the Abrams is too sophisticated, too expensive a platform to be as useful as the Leopards, but we need to continue to work with our close allies and move forward in lock step," he added. 

U.S. Representative Seth Moulton has also voiced the same idea. 

"(German Chancellor Olaf) Scholz wants to be in lockstep with the US," he told CNN after discussing the matter with Scholz in Davos. "I think the US should give a few tanks if that is what is required for Germany. That is called leadership."  

At the Jan. 20 Ramstein meeting, Ukraine's allies failed to reach an agreement on supplying German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine due to Germany's reluctance to approve tank deliveries. 

Poland, Finland and other countries are ready to supply German-made Leopard tanks to Ukraine but they need approval from the German government. 

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki hinted on Jan. 19 that Poland could supply Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine without Germany's consent if it waits too long for approval.

Since the beginning of Russia's all-out invasion in February 2022, the German government has been criticized for delaying and blocking arms supplies to Ukraine. Amid pressure from the media, the public and NATO allies, Germany has increased its arms supplies to Ukraine but Scholz is still accused of being reluctant to antagonize Russian dictator Vladimir Putin.   

The Kyiv Independent news desk
The Kyiv Independent news desk

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