President Joe Biden announced on Wednesday, January 25, that the United States would send 31 Abrams tanks to Ukraine and provide training on how to sustain the tanks on the battlefield.
Biden said NATO was “fully, thoroughly, totally united” and would continue their close coordination and support of Ukraine’s fight against the Russian invasion that began in February 2022.
“Germany has really stepped up. The chancellor has been a strong, strong voice for unity,” Biden said.
A statement released by the German government on January 25 said the country would send Leopard tanks to Ukraine and quickly begin training Ukrainian crews in Germany.
“Together with our allies and partners we’ve sent more than 3,000 armored vehicles, more than 8,000 artillery systems, more than 2 million rounds of artillery ammunition, and more than 50 advanced multilaunch rocket systems … all to help counter Ukraine’s brutal aggression that’s happening because of Russia,” Biden said.
“Today’s announcement builds on the hard work and commitment from countries around the world led by the United States of America to help Ukraine defend its sovereignty and its territorial integrity. That’s what this is about. Helping Ukraine defend and protect Ukrainian land. It is not an offensive threat to Russia,” Biden added.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky thanked Biden for his decision. “Today the free world is united as never before for a common goal – liberation of Ukraine,” Zelensky wrote. Credit: The White House via Storyful
JOE BIDEN: Good almost morning. It's actually noon. Thank you for being here. Yesterday marked 11 months since Russia's brutal full-scale invasion of Ukraine, 11 months in which the Ukrainian people have showed Putin and the world the full force of their courage and the indomitable determination to live free.
And through every single step of this horrific war, the American people have been strong and unwavering in their support. And Democrats and Republicans in congress have stood together. The United States has worked in lockstep with our allies and partners around the world to make sure the Ukrainian people are in the strongest possible position to defend their nation, their families, and against the brutal-- the truly brutal aggression of Russia. We haven't seen the likes of this in a long time.
The United States and Europe are fully united. This morning, I had a long conversation with our NATO allies-- German Chancellor Scholz, French President Macron, Prime Minister Sihanouk, and the Italian Prime Minister Meloni-- to continue our close coordination and their full support of Ukraine. Because you all know, I've been saying this for a long time, the expectation on the part of Russia is we're going to break up, we're not going to stay united. But we are fully, thoroughly, totally united.
With spring approaching, Ukrainian forces are working to defend the territory they hold and preparing for additional counter-offensives. To liberate their land, they need to be able to counter Russia's evolving tactics and strategy on the battlefield in the very near-term. They need to improve their ability to maneuver in open terrain. And they need an enduring capability to deter and defend against Russian aggression over the long-term. The Secretary of State and the secretary of the military behind me, they've been deeply, deeply involved in this whole effort.
Armored capability, as General Austin will tell you, has been critical. And that's why the United States has committed hundreds of armored fighting vehicles to date, including more than 500 as part of the assistance package we announced last Friday. And today-- today, I'm announcing that the United States will be sending 31 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, the equivalent of one Ukrainian battalion.
Secretary Austin has recommended this step because it will enhance the Ukraine's capacity to defend its territory and achieve its strategic objectives. The Abrams tanks are the most capable tanks in the world. They're also extremely complex to operate and maintain. So we're also giving Ukraine the parts and the equipment necessary to effectively sustain these tanks on the battlefield.
And we'll begin to train the Ukrainian troops on these issues of sustainment, logistics, and maintenance as soon as possible. Delivering these tanks to the field is going to take time-- time that we'll see and we'll use to make sure the Ukrainians are fully prepared to integrate the Abrams tanks into their defenses. We're also closely coordinating this announcement with our allies. The American contribution will be joined by an additional announcement, including that we'll be available and more easily integrated for use in the battlefield in the coming weeks and months from other countries.
I'm grateful to Chancellor Scholz for providing German Leopard 2 tanks and will lead an effort to organize a European contribution of two tank battalions for Ukraine. I want to thank the chancellor for his leadership and his steadfast commitment to our collective efforts to support Ukraine. Germany has really stepped up. The chancellor has been a strong, strong voice for unity, a close friend, and for the level of effort we're going to continue.
Supporting Ukraine's ability to fight off Russian aggression to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity is a worldwide commitment-- it's a worldwide commitment. Last week in Germany, Secretary Austin convened the Ukraine Defense Contact Group for the eighth time. This group is made up of some 50 nations, 50 nations, each making significant contributions of their own to Ukraine's integrity-- each fully committed to making Ukraine remain strong, and independent, and able to defend itself against Russian threats and violence.
I want to thank every member of that coalition for continuing to step up. The UK, the United Kingdom, recently announced that it's donating Challenger 2 tanks to Ukraine. France is contributing AMX 10s armored fighting vehicles, in addition to the Leopard tanks that Germany, like the United States, is also-- Germany is also sending a Patriot missile battery.
The Netherlands is donating a Patriot missile and launchers. France, Canada, the UK, Slovakia, and Norway, and others have all donated critical air defense systems to help secure Ukrainian skies and save the lives of innocent civilians who are literally the target, the target, of Russia's aggression. Poland is sending armored vehicles. Sweden is donating infantry fighting vehicles.
Italy is giving artillery. Denmark and Estonia are sending howitzers. Latvia is providing more stinger missiles. Lithuania is providing anti-aircraft guns. And Finland recently announced its largest package of security assistance to date. You may remember I was asked a while ago what did I think was going to happen-- and I said let Putin know he thought that he's going to end up with a Finlandization of Europe. Well, he's got the NATO-ization of Finland.
He's gotten something he'd never intended. Together with our allies and partners, we've sent more than 3,000 armored vehicles, more than 8,000 artillery systems, more than 2 million rounds of artillery ammunition, and more than 50 advanced multi-launch rocket systems, and I shipped an air defense systems-- all to help counter Ukraine's brutal aggression that's happening because of Russia. And today's announcement builds on the hard work and commitment from countries around the world, led by the United States of America, to help Ukraine defend its sovereignty and its territorial integrity.
That's what this is about-- helping Ukraine defend and protect Ukrainian land. It is not an offensive threat to Russia. There is no offensive threat to Russia. If Russian troops return to Russia, they will be where they belong. This war would be over today. That's what we all want-- an end to this war in just and lasting terms.
Our teams do not permit one nation-- we're not going to allow one nation to steal a neighbor's territory by force. Our terms-- preserve Russia's sovereignty-- Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity and honor the UN Charter. That's the terms we're working on. And these are the terms we all signed up for and 143 nations voted for in the United Nations General Assembly last October.
So the United States, standing shoulder to shoulder with allies and partners, is going to continue to do all we can to support Ukraine. Putin expected Europe and the United States to weaken our resolve. He expected our support for Ukraine to crumble with time. He was wrong.
He was wrong. And he was wrong from the beginning and continues to be wrong. We are united. America's united and so is the world. And we approach the one-year mark, as we do of the Russian full-scale invasion of Ukraine, we remain united and determined as ever in our conviction and our cause.
These tanks are further evidence of our enduring, unflagging commitment to Ukraine and our confidence them the skill of the Ukrainian forces.
As I told President Zelenskyy when he was here-- and today's his birthday, by the way-- in December, we're with you for as long as it takes, Mr. President. Ukrainians are fighting an age old battle against aggression and domination. It's a battle Americans have fought proudly time and again. And it's a battle we're going to make sure the Ukrainians are well-equipped to fight as well.
This is about freedom-- freedom for Ukraine, freedom everywhere. It's about the kind of world we want to live in, the world we want to leave to our children. So may God protect the brave Ukrainian defenders of their country and keep the flame of liberty burning brightly as we can. Thank you.
- Mr. President, why are you taking this decision now? Did Germany forced you to change your mind on sending tanks?
JOE BIDEN: Germany didn't force me to change my mind. We wanted to make sure we were all together. That's what we were going to do all. That's what we're doing right now. Thank you.
- Mr. President, any response to the Pence disclosures of classified documents?
- Sir, were the searches of your homes completed?
- Mr. President, when is Jeff Stein starting as your next chief of staff?