“Germany is waiting for us,” the House Foreign Affairs Committee chair said.
January 22, 2023
Rep. Michael McCaul, the chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said on Sunday that the U.S. should send at least one of its M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine to push Germany to allow for its own tanks to help Kyiv fight Russia’s invasion.
“If we announced we were going to give Abrams tanks, just one … what I hear is that Germany is waiting for us to take the lead. Then they would put Leopard tanks in. And remember, there are about 10 countries that have Leopard tanks, but they need Germany to sign off,” McCaul, R-Texas, told ABC “This Week” co-anchor Martha Raddatz, referencing Germany’s Leopard 2 tanks.
Germany’s Leopard tanks are used in several countries across Europe, though they need Berlin’s permission to be reexported to Ukraine. The U.S. has said its Abrams tanks are unsuited for fighting in Ukraine given the extensive maintenance and fuel they need to operate.
Instead, the U.S. has committed significant armored vehicles to Ukraine, including approximately 150 more of them in the most recently announced aid package from the Biden administration.
When pressed by Raddatz if just one Abrams tank would be enough to get Germany’s tanks in Ukraine, McCaul said, “Saying we’re gonna put Abrams tanks in, I think, would be enough for Germany to unleash” its own Leopards.
“There’s gonna be a winter offensive by the Russians. They need these tanks on the eastern flank in the Donbas. They also need the ATACMS, the longer-range artillery, to hit Crimea where the Iranian drones are,” he said of the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia illegally annexed in 2014 and which, according to the U.S., is being used as a launching base for exploding drones supplied by Iran.
Delaware Sen. Chris Coons reportedly spoke with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz about tank supplies while at the World Economic Forum last week. In his own “This Week” appearance, Coons echoed McCaul’s view, saying, “I think it’s urgent that we provide Ukraine with advanced main battle tanks.”
“I am concerned that Russia is re-arming and preparing for a spring offensive. If it requires our sending some Abrams tanks in order to unlock getting the Leopard tanks from Germany, from Poland, from other allies, I would support that,” Coons said. “I respect that our military leaders think the Abrams is too sophisticated, too expensive a platform to be as useful as the Leopards, but we need to continue to work with our close allies and to move forward in lockstep.”