President Joe Biden announced Wednesday that the U.S. will send 31 M1 Abrams battle tanks to Ukraine in its battle against Russia, as part of a package worth $400 million. Germany agreed to send 14 Leopard 2 A6 tanks. France, the U.K., Poland, the Netherlands and Sweden will also be sending tanks to Ukraine, as the country prepares to go on offense this spring.
Up until now the U.S. has resisted sending tanks to Ukraine. Last Spring Biden claimed that sending tanks would be World War III.
“The idea that we’re going to send in offensive equipment and have planes and tanks and trains going in with American pilots and American crews — just understand, don’t kid yourself, no matter what y’all say, that’s called World War III,” Biden told a gathering of House Democrats in Philadelphia in March, 2022, per the New York Post.
Biden declared this week that this is only about helping Ukraine protect itself and not about going on offense against Russia.
“That’s what this is about — helping Ukraine defend and protect Ukrainian land. It is not an offensive threat to Russia, there is no offensive threat to Russia,” Biden insisted this week.
The problem, however, is that sending tanks means we are going on offense and that a major escalation in this war is likely over the coming weeks and months, potentially WWIII like Biden warned about less than a year ago.
Ukraine is also now trying to secure F-16 fighter jets. Ukraine’s defense minister, Oleksiy Reznikov, said that securing the fighter jets would be the “next big hurdle” for Kyiv. “If we get them, the advantages on the battlefield will be just immense,” he told Reuters. “It’s not just F-16s,” he added. “Fourth-generation aircraft, this is what we want.”
Lockheed Martin’s chief operating officer, Frank St. John, said on Wednesday that discussions are happening about a third-party transfer of F-16 jets to Ukraine. St. John told the Financial Times that Lockheed Martin was “going to be ramping production on F-16s” at its facility in South Carolina.
Immediately after the decision was announced for the U.S. to send tanks to Ukraine, President Zelesnky started begging for missiles. “This is a dream, this is a task,” he stressed. “An important task for all of us,” Zelesnky declared.