Responding to President Biden’s pledge to send 31 M1 Abrams to Ukraine, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the US-made tanks will “burn.”
“I am certain that many experts understand the absurdity of this idea. The plan is disastrous in terms of technology,” Peskov said. “But above all, it overestimates the potential it will add to the Ukrainian army. These tanks burn just like all the others.”
Biden made the announcement just days after Pentagon officials said the US didn’t want to send the tanks due to the difficulty of maintaining the tanks. The New York Times reported on Wednesday night that the decision to send the tanks was more of a political calculation to get Germany to send its own Leopard 2 tanks, which are lighter and more practical for Ukraine’s armed forces.
The Times report said the decision was “a triumph of political calculation over logistical concerns.” It said the decision “made no sense to the Pentagon to go through the logistical headaches of sending the country’s most advanced tanks to Ukraine when there were very capable German Leopard tanks nearby that could get to Ukraine faster, and operate more efficiently.”
Biden’s pledge to send Abrams paved the way for Germany to send 14 of its Leopard 2 tanks and to allow the export of the tank from other European countries. Russia’s Embassy in Germany slammed Berlin’s move, saying it will lead to “permanent escalation.”
“This extremely dangerous decision takes the conflict to a new level of confrontation and contradicts the statements of German politicians about the unwillingness of the Federal Republic of Germany to be drawn into it,” the Russian Ambassador to Germany Sergei Nechayev said.
“It destroys the remnants of mutual trust, causes irreparable damage to the already deplorable state of Russian-German relations, and casts doubt on the possibility of their normalization in the foreseeable future,” Nechayev added.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz previously ruled out sending tanks over fears that it could provoke a direct clash between NATO and Russia. American and European officials told the Times that three months ago, it would have been “inconceivable” that Scholz and Biden would have been sending such heavy arms to Ukraine. The report acknowledged that the step brings “the United States and its NATO allies closer to direct conflict with Russia.”