Defense leaders meet amid dissent over tanks for Ukraine

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany (AP) — Defense leaders are gathering at Ramstein Air Base in Germany Friday to hammer out future military aid to Ukraine, amid ongoing dissent over

who will provide the battle tanks that Ukrainian leaders say they desperately need to recapture territory from Russia. U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Army Gen. Mark

Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, are expected to discuss the latest massive package of aid the U.S. is sending — which totals $2.5 billion and includes Stryker

armored vehicles for the first time. But broader hesitation over sending tanks to Ukraine has roiled the coalition, as Germany facees mounting pressure to supply Leopard 2

tanks to Kyiv, or at least clear the way for others — such as Poland — to deliver German-made Leopards from their own stock. The U.S. has also declined, at least so far, to

provide M1 Abrams tanks, citing the extensive and complex maintenance and logistical challenges with the high-tech vehicle. The U.S. believes it would be more productive to send

Leopards since many allies have them and Ukrainian troops would only have to get trained on that one, versus needing far more training on the more difficult Abrams. The

United Kingdom announced last week that it will send Challenger 2 tanks, and has said it's a natural progression of military aid to Ukraine. At a Pentagon briefing Thursday,

spokeswoman Sabrina Singh said the Leopard and Challenger aren’t comparable to the Abrams because the Abrams is much harder to maintain and wouldn’t be a good fit.