The United States, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic have collaborated to send 90 refurbished T-72B main tanks to Ukraine as part of the Biden administration’s latest $ 400 million weapons package.
The tanks, which have “advanced optics, communications and armor packages”, “will further strengthen Ukraine’s armored warfare capabilities,” according to the Pentagon.
Ukraine has been calling for more tanks and other armored vehicles as winter approaches.
“We are fighting the war with our pickup trucks,” a Ukrainian soldier told Radio Free Europe last month. “It will be really hard for us.”
The Pentagon will pay for 45 of the refurbished T-72B tanks from the Czech defense industry inventory, while the Netherlands will provide funds for the other 45. The tanks will begin arriving in Ukraine next month.
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So far the United States has refused to supply more modern tanks, such as the main M-1 Abrams tanks.
A senior US defense official told reporters in September that the Pentagon acknowledges that in the long run, Ukraine “will have to switch to NATO-compatible models.”
“Tanks are absolutely on the table along with other areas,” the defense officer said on Sept. 19.
“In terms of immediate combat, the available tanks that could be supplied very quickly with little or no training are Soviet-type tanks, but we are certainly open to other options as long as the training, maintenance and support can be cured “.
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The latest $ 400 million weapons package also includes funding to refurbish HAWK air defense missiles, 1,100 Phoenix Ghost tactical unmanned aerial systems, and 40 armored river boats.
It adds to more than $ 18 billion in security assistance that the Biden administration has transferred to Ukraine since Russia invaded last February.