US, Germany confirm new heavy weaponry for Ukraine
US President Joe Biden and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz have confirmed reports that they will donate infantry fighting vehicles to Ukraine. The news comes a day after France announced that if would send Western-designed ‘light tanks’ to Kiev.
According to a joint statement released by the White House and German Chancellery on Thursday evening, “the United States intends to supply Ukraine with Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles, and Germany intends to provide Ukraine with Marder Infantry Fighting Vehicles.”
“Both countries plan to train Ukrainian forces on the respective systems,” the statement continued.
It remains unclear how many of each type of vehicle will be sent to Ukraine and when they will be delivered.
Earlier on Thursday, Germany’s Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper reported that such an announcement was imminent, and that Berlin’s decision to ship the Marders to Ukraine had been made in coordination with the US and France.
France announced on Wednesday that it would send an undisclosed number of its own AMX-10 armored fighting vehicles to Ukraine, with a government spokesman declaring that "it is the first time that Western-designed tanks are supplied to the Ukrainian armed forces.”
Although the Bradley, Marder, and AMX-10 vehicles are sometimes referred to as “light tanks,” the former two are more commonly called infantry fighting vehicles, and the latter armored fighting vehicles. No NATO countries have suggested that they plan on supplying Ukraine with western-built main battle tanks, and an unnamed American official on Wednesday explicitly ruled out the transfer of the US M1 Abrams tanks to Kiev, according to the Washington Post.
Nevertheless, the US, Germany, and France have all supplied Ukraine with increasingly heavy weapons since the beginning of Russia's military operation there last February. Moscow has cautioned the West against arming Ukraine, warning that it treats incoming arms deliveries as targets, and that such shipments will serve only to prolong the conflict, whilst making Western nations de-facto participants.