How US-German ‘bickering’ is blocking Ukraine’s push for tanks

A push to provide battle tanks to Ukraine is stalled after U.S. officials this week expressed reluctance over difficulties in maintenance and training for the advanced

tracked vehicle. The U.S. decision effectively prevents Ukraine getting tanks from other NATO allies as well, as Germany this week made clear it would only allow other

countries to send the German-made tanks if the U.S. commits its own M1 Abrams tank first. Ukraine has repeatedly asked for Western tanks to help in its fight with

Russia, a topic that was front and center this week at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, and will again be in the spotlight at a gathering of top defense ministers

for a Ukraine Contact Group meeting on Friday.  German officials have been mulling allowing Ukraine to have its Leopard 2 tanks, with speculation that the U.S. and

Germany may announce a deal on Friday to finally grant Kyiv’s wish for heavy tanks.  But the United States believes “it just doesn’t make sense” for Washington to send

over the Army’s main battle tank now, Sabrina Singh, deputy Pentagon press secretary, told reporters Thursday.  “It’s more of a sustainment issue,” Singh said. “This is

a tank that requires jet fuel. . . .. The maintenance and the high cost that it would take to maintain an Abrams, it just doesn’t make sense to provide that to the Ukrainians at

this moment.”  Months of pressure on the United States and Germany to hand over battle tanks appeared to make headway this week with the new appointment of German

Defense Minister Boris Pistorius as well as discussions on tanks at Davos and high-level NATO meetings in Brussels.