Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said any Abrams shipments would be a waste of money as they “burn” like other tanks in Ukraine.
The head of the Ukrainian presidential administration, Andriy Yermak, hailed the tank announcements as a “historic day” that would help determine the outcome of the war.
Biden said the US decision was not in response to pressure from Germany, answering a reporter’s shouted question. “Germany didn’t force me to change my mind, we wanted to make sure we were all together,” he said.
MONTHS FOR DELIVERY
The Abrams – among the most powerful US tanks – will not be heading to Ukraine anytime soon.
Senior administration officials who briefed reporters on the decision said it will take months, not weeks, for the Abrams to be delivered and described the move in terms of providing for Ukraine’s long-term defence.
Members of the Ukrainian military will be trained on using the Abrams in a yet-to-be determined location. While a highly sophisticated and expensive weapon, the Abrams is difficult to maintain and provides a logistical resupply challenge because it runs on jet fuel.
The total cost of a single Abrams tanks can vary, and can be over US$10 million per tanks when including training and sustainment.
Senior administration officials said Biden had spoken to German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on multiple occasions this month about assistance to Ukraine. He talked again on Wednesday to Scholz as well as to British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and French President Emmanuel Macron, both of whom are close allies in helping Ukraine.