First US Abrams Tanks arrive in Ukraine as Biden vows to help nation become munitions manufacturing center

Zelensky called the deal "historic."

Libby Emmons Brooklyn NY
The US has made good on its promise of shipping Abrams Tanks to aid the fight in the Ukraine-Russia conflict. This after President Joe Biden initially promised that tanks, F-16 fighter jets, long-range missiles, and other high-powered tools of war would not be sent. The US has spent some $113 billion on Ukraine's war, $44 billion of that on security.   >Also on the way from the US are High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, Avenger air defense systems, Javelin and AT-4 anti-armor system, and F-16 jets. 

Biden has vowed to send 31 Abrams Tanks, and the first shipment is months ahead of schedule. The New York Times reports that the tanks arrived just in time to help with Ukraine's lackluster counter-offensive against their invading neighbor Russia.

Officials with the administration speaking on condition of anonymity would not confirm how many tanks had been sent to Ukraine. Head of Ukraine’s military intelligence General Kyrylo Budanov cautioned against sending the tanks directly to the frontlines, saying the vehicles must be deployed “in a very tailored way, for very specific, well-crafted operations" or they risk destruction by Russian forces.

Otherwise, Budanov said, "they will not live very long on the battlefield. They need to be used in those breakthrough operations, but very well prepared.”

US Special Forces are also stationed in Kyiv to help train Ukrainian forces on how to use the military equipment and weapons that are headed their way.

In addition to shipping weapons overseas to Ukraine, the US is funding new munitions production facilities in Ukraine. 

"Ukrainian corporations signed agreements with more than 2,000 U.S. defense companies to kick-start future collaboration efforts in Ukraine," Foreign Policy reports.

President Voldymyr Zelensky called the deal "historic." The US will now aid weapons manufacturing in Ukraine. This will likely bring US workers into Ukraine to work in munitions manufacturing.

"We are preparing to create a new defense ecosystem with the United States to produce weapons to strengthen further freedom and protect life together," Zelensky said. 

His hope is to "advance its domestic weapons production capabilities by reforming its arms industry," Foreign Policy reports. 

Zelensky hopes that Ukraine will host a 20-nation arms production forum, where Ukrainian munitions manufacturing is front and center.

Biden authorized the sending of Abrams Tanks to Ukraine in January. This is despite his administration having previously claimed such a move would lead to global conflict. In March 2022, Biden said that "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, that's called World War 3, okay?"

In May 2022, Biden told reporters on the south lawn of the White House, "We're not going to send to Ukraine rocket systems that can strike Russia." The US has provided Ukraine with over 30 HIMARS rockets (High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems), and aids Ukraine by providing coordinates for targets. The US is now planning to send long-range Army Tactical Missile Systems to aid Ukraine's fight.

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