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U.S. poised to send tanks to Ukraine

The U.S. is now poised to send its top-of-the-line battle tank, the M-1 Abrams, to Ukraine after insisting for months that the tanks were too complex to operate and maintain — becoming the latest country to agree to bring modern tanks to Ukraine as it fights off the Russian invasion. 

'Bear 22' joint military exercises in Poland
FILE: NOWA DEBA, POLAND – SEPTEMBER 21: The M1 Abrams, a third-generation American main battle tanks, are seen at the end of the joint military exercises, at the training ground in Nowa Deba. 

Photo by Artur Widak/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

However, U.S. officials said it would likely take months before Abrams tanks arrive in Ukraine. Once they arrive in force, the tanks would give Ukraine major new capabilities to launch offensives against dug-in Russian troops.  

It’s unclear how many tanks are being sent, and Ukrainian tank crews must first be trained in both operations and maintenance.  

The news comes on the heels of Germany’s expected announcement that it will be sending its own Leopard tanks, and Poland’s request to Berlin Monday for permission to export its own Leopard tanks, which were made in Germany. Other countries that operate the Leopard are expected to follow suit. 

Ukraine has been asking for Abrams tanks from the U.S., but as recently as last week, the Pentagon remained reluctant.

“We’re not there yet,” Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl said last Thursday when asked about fulfilling the request for the tanks.

“The Abrams tank is a very complicated piece of equipment. It’s expensive. It’s hard to train on…it is not the easiest system to maintain,” Kahl told reporters on Wednesday.  

The Abrams tank, according to defense officials, requires extensive maintenance and is a gas guzzler — running through jet fuel at a rapid clip of three gallons per mile. 

This is a breaking story. It will be updated.

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