"It just doesn’t make sense” for the US to provide M1 Abrams tanks “at this moment," Sabrina Singh, deputy Pentagon press secretary, said Thursday after German officials said that they will not provide tanks to Ukraine until the US decides to do so as well.
“As you know we’ve provided the Bradleys, we're seeing other nations step up and continue to provide equipment and material to Ukraine that they can,” Singh said.
“Ultimately this is Germany's decision. It's their sovereign decision on what security assistance they will provide. So we won't be able to speak to them but I think that we are certainly doing what we can to support Ukraine in what in what they need," she added.
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is meeting with other allies on Friday in Germany during the eighth Ukraine Contact Group, where they will discuss what kind of equipment and weapons systems Ukraine may need in its fight against Russia.
And while the issue of tanks is sure to come up, US officials have repeatedly said Germany can make its own decisions and that the M1 Abrams’ maintenance and sustainment demands make it a difficult piece of equipment to provide to the Ukrainians.
“[W]e're continuing to work with other partners and allies around the world to see what else can be provided to Ukraine and that's, that's the whole point of tomorrow's meeting,” Singh said Thursday.
Some context: There is growing pressure for Western allies to provide Ukraine with heavy battle tanks.
Germany has said it would transfer infantry fighting vehicles to Kyiv but is yet to commit to sending tanks. Chancellor Olaf Scholz has insisted that any such plan would need to be fully coordinated with the whole of the Western alliance, including the United States.
The Western allies are set to meet tomorrow at the US Ramstein air base in Germany to discuss further military aid for Kyiv.