Dwell updates: Russia’s struggle in Ukraine

President Biden introduced Wednesday that he plans to ship 31 M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, reversing the administration’s longstanding resistance to requests from Kyiv for the extremely subtle however maintenance-heavy automobiles.

Biden stated in White Home remarks that this US help is about serving to Ukraine “defend its sovereignty” and that sending tanks doesn’t imply it’s an “offensive risk.”

Biden’s announcement got here after Germany confirmed earlier Wednesday that it might ship 14 Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine from its personal inventory. The 2 nations had gave the impression to be in standoff as German officers indicated Berlin would solely ship their Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine if the US despatched the M-1 Abrams tanks.

In case you are simply studying in, this is what you could learn about in the present day’s developments:

Why that is vital: NATO Secretary Normal Jens Stoltenberg informed CNN’s Kate Bolduan on “At This Hour” Wednesday that the tanks “will considerably strengthen” Kyiv’s fight capabilities. Ukraine’s President  Volodymyr Zelensky has persistently requested Western allies for contemporary tanks as his nation prepares for an anticipated main Russian counteroffensive within the spring.

With each the US and Germany pledging to ship tanks to Ukraine, different nations, particularly these with the German-made tanks, have additionally introduced contributions to the entrance traces. CNN can’t verify the overall variety of Leopard 2 tanks to be delivered, however pledges made by a number of nations up to now imply the Ukrainian army is in line to obtain dozens of the tanks. Germany’s primary governing social gathering stated on Wednesday that Ukraine’s Western allies will ship the nation a complete of round 80 Leopard 2 primary battle tanks.

Why ship tanks now: Sending Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine will present Kyiv’s forces with a contemporary and highly effective army automobile forward of a possible Russian spring offensive. It is going to additionally come as a blow to the Kremlin, which has seen a rising marketing campaign to equip Ukrainian troops with high-tech combating programs as Russia’s floor struggle nears the one-year mark.

Talking forward of Biden’s announcement, senior US officers framed the choice as an funding in Ukraine’s “long run capabilities,” a sign the administration sees the now 11-month-long struggle extending nicely into the long run. Ukraine hopes the brand new tanks may help it retake territory seized by Russia, together with within the Donbas. That might additionally embrace Crimea, the peninsula annexed by Russia in 2014.

Potential challenges: The Abrams tanks will take months to reach, senior Biden administration officers stated, and would require in depth coaching for Ukrainian troops on the way to function and repair them. The US should navigate difficult provide chains for the elements required for the tanks. 

The procurement course of will take months, the officers stated, although Germany’s Leopards will arrive within the nearer time period. Within the meantime, the US will start a “complete coaching program” for the Ukrainians on the Abrams, which would require vital upkeep as soon as they’re deployed. The coaching will happen exterior Ukraine.

The Portuguese overseas minister stated Wednesday it’ll take two to 3 months earlier than Western-donated Leopard 2 tanks are totally operational in Ukraine.

Watch CNN’s Jim Sciutto break down the newest on the tanks:

CNN’s Kevin Liptak, Stephanie Halasz, Sophie Tanno and Sugam Pokharel contributed reporting to this put up.

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