The United States is ready to begin training Ukraine forces on how to use and maintain donated Abrams tanks as it continues to fast track efforts to get them onto the battlefield against Russia, U.S. officials said Friday.
According to officials cited by AP, 31 main battle tanks will arrive at Grafenwoehr Training Area in Germany early in May and the troops will begin 10 weeks of training soon after.
The heavy armor will not be the examples given to Ukraine as it fights against Russia’s invasion. Instead, another 31 M1A1 battle tanks are being refurbished in the U.S. and those will go to the frontlines when ready.
U.S. President Joe Biden announced the donation of the tanks and training to go with them in January, as Breitbart News reported.
Biden announced Wednesday afternoon he has approved sending 31 Abrams M1 main battle tanks to Ukraine, in an escalation of U.S. support for the war as it nears the one-year mark. https://t.co/fx60Tkga3e
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) January 25, 2023
Biden did not mention the costs at the time, but shortly after his remarks, the Department of Defense announced a package of $400 million under the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI).
“This $400 million USAI package represents the beginning of a contracting process to provide additional capabilities to Ukraine,” the Department of Defense said in a press release.
WATCH: White House Says Biden Decided to Send Tanks to Ukraine ‘Even if It’s Not the Most Sensible Military Move’
The package includes: 31 Abrams main battle tanks with 120mm rounds and other ammunition; Eight Tactical Vehicles to recover equipment; Support vehicles and equipment; and Funding for training, maintenance, and sustainment.
Under intense pressure from Ukraine and others since to get the tanks into the war zone faster, the Biden administration announced last month it would expedite the process, opting to send a refurbished older model that can be ready faster at the same time other countries like Germany are moving tanks eastward in support of Kyiv.
German Tanks Roll East: Berlin Approves Leopard 2s for Ukraine https://t.co/umMWVjhD8W
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) January 25, 2023
The goal is to get the 70-ton battle powerhouses fully operational with Ukraine crews to the war zone by the fall.
At the same time, the Pentagon must make sure Ukrainian forces have an adequate supply chain for all the parts needed to keep the tanks running as well as ammunition which will be drawn down from U.S. reserves.
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