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On day 336 of the war in Ukraine, the U.S. will announce a major security aid package to Ukraine that will include around 30 M1 Abrams tanks, while Germany has finally relented and is sending 14 Leopard 2s.
The decision to send Ukraine the M1 Abrams, probably the most advanced main battle tank in the world, comes after days of heated negotiations among NATO members and partners on the next steps of security assistance to embattled Ukraine.
M1 Abrams Tanks to Ukraine
The White House is expected to announce another package of military aid to Ukraine later today. At the front and center of the newest package of security, aid will be around 30 M1 Abrams main battle tanks.
However, the M1 Abrams tanks won’t be reaching Ukraine any time soon.
The announcement is more geared toward Germany. Indeed, the decision is seen as an essential gesture to push Germany to send or allow the transfer of Leopard 2 main battle tanks by third countries to Ukraine.
The U.S. military has had ongoing concerns about the ability of the Ukrainians to maintain and sustain the M1 Abrams tank in combat conditions.
That is one of the main reasons that Washington has refrained from sending the tanks to Ukraine thus far.
The U.S. is also ready to increase artillery production sixfold to support Ukraine and its own needs.
Germany and the Leopard 2 Tanks
Germany has finally relented and will be sending 14 Leopard 2 main battle tanks to Ukraine with the ultimate goal of supplying two battalions.
But, several European nations were getting ready to send Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine with or without the approval of Germany.
In addition to Poland, which openly threatened to violate its end user agreement and send a company of 14 Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine if Germany doesn’t move faster, the Netherlands is considering buying 18 Leopard 2 tanks that is currently leasing from Berlin and sending them to Kyiv.
Finland and Spain have also expressed or signaled a willingness to send Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine. The most popular main battle tank in Europe, the Leopard 2 tank would be a considerable upgrade for the Ukrainian military.
The Ukrainian forces are using Soviet- and Russian-made tanks, some of which are more than 50 years old.
The Russian Casualties
Overall, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Wednesday, Ukrainian forces have killed approximately 123,080 Russian troops (and wounded approximately twice to thrice that number).
Destroyed Equipment Includes: 290 fighter, attack, bomber, and transport jets, 281 attack and transport helicopters, 3,161 tanks, 2,154 artillery pieces, 6,307 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, 450 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 18 boats and cutters, 4,967 vehicles and fuel tanks, 220 anti-aircraft batteries, 1,902 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 194 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems, and 749 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses.
Expert Biography: A 19FortyFive Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist specializing in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate.