The United States and Germany have agreed to send additional fighting vehicles to Ukraine, a decision that could pave the way for allies to eventually send Kyiv formidable Western tanks in its fight against Russia.
The deal, which was cemented after President Biden and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz spoke by phone Wednesday, means Washington with send the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, and Germany intends to provide Ukraine with Marder Infantry Fighting Vehicles, the White House announced in a Thursday release.
Biden and Scholz “expressed their common determination to continue to provide the necessary financial, humanitarian, military and diplomatic support to Ukraine for as long as needed,” the statement said, adding that the two countries plan to train Kyiv’s forces on the respective systems.
The Bradleys will be included as part of “another round of security assistance for Ukraine” anticipated on Friday, the Pentagon’s top spokesperson Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder told reporters later on Thursday.
The Army’s primary infantry fighting vehicle, the Bradley is a powerful armored and tracked vehicle that carries a turret-mounted machine gun. Made by BAE Systems, the vehicle has been called a “tank killer,” capable of destroying any other vehicle on the battlefield with its heavy firepower.
The decision by the United States and Germany follows France’s Wednesday announcement that it will send Ukraine its own light battle tanks, the AMX-10 RC armored fighting vehicle, becoming the first nation to arm the embattled country with the Western-style fighting vehicles.
The vehicles will likely boost Ukraine’s battle abilities, as they are lighter and more agile than the Soviet-era tanks Ukraine has, which also includes those given by European countries after Russia first attacked on Feb. 24.
But President Volodymyr Zelensky, who on Wednesday thanked France for the contribution, still urged the West to send its tanks, such as the Abrams or Leopard, and other heavy weapons.
“There is no rational reason why Ukraine has not yet been supplied with Western tanks,” Zelensky said.
The United States has already given Ukraine more than 2,000 combat vehicles, including Humvees and Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles. The addition of the Bradley, however, will boost Kyiv’s battle abilities as it plans a renewed spring offensive in the east.
The United States and Germany also on Thursday “affirmed their intention to further support Ukraine’s urgent requirement for air defense capabilities” in light of Russia’s ongoing missile and drone attacks against Ukraine’s critical infrastructure.
That follows the U.S. announcement last month to send a Patriot air defense missile battery to Ukraine. Germany will also supply an additional Patriot air defense battery to Kyiv.
— Updated at 8:18 p.m.