A bipartisan group of United States senators who just returned from a visit to Ukraine urged President Joe Biden's administration to send tanks to Kyiv in hopes of encouraging Germany and other allies to also send tanks.
“The best tank for the fight is the German Leopard tank ... [and] American tanks can be helpful in this regard. If we send some Abrams tanks, it will open the floodgates to more tanks coming from allies,” Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said at a news conference Tuesday.
Graham said that despite some issues associated with the American Abrams tanks, sending them would still be an important signal. US officials said publicly last week that hesitations stemmed from the tanks being costly and requiring a significant amount of training to operate.
“To the Biden administration, please send the tanks. To the Germans, please send the tanks,” Graham said.
Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal added that “the Pentagon ought to come full board with those Abrams tanks, if that's what is necessary for the Germans to give permission to our allies, to provide the Leopard 2 tanks, and for the Germans to provide those tanks themselves.”
The senators stressed that they believe the war is at an important point and that there is an urgent need for additional weapon support now.
“I want to thank President Biden for saying that Ukraine will get everything it needs to win. ... There is an urgency to now, time is not on our side,” Blumenthal said.
CNN reported earlier that the Biden administration is finalizing plans to send the US-made Abrams tanks to Ukraine and could make an announcement as soon as this week, according to three US officials familiar with the deliberations.