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Tanks confirmed for Ukraine

President Biden announced yesterday that the U.S. would send 31 M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine to help it defend against Russian invaders and that Germany would follow through by contributing 14 Leopard 2 tanks, freeing other allies to send their own. He emphasized that the buildup was not meant to expand the war into Russia. Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian president, who has pressed for the tanks to counter Russia’s advantage in arms and troops, expressed gratitude for the U.S. decision. Writing on Twitter, he said, “Today the free world is united as never before for a common goal — liberation of Ukraine.” Zelensky has called for 300 tanks in total. The Pentagon had been reluctant to send the Abrams tanks, in part because they are exceptionally complex machines that are challenging to operate and maintain. As it is, officials have said it could take a year or even longer for them to actually reach the battlefield in Ukraine. The pledges could unlock more aid ahead of an expected escalation of fighting in the spring.
The news came as Ukraine’s military acknowledged that it had retreated from Soledar, a strategic eastern city that Russian forces had been fighting to capture in months of brutal trench warfare and artillery battles.

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