Republicans call for US and Germany to send tanks to Ukraine ‘ASAP’ so they can ‘expel’ Russia in the midst of intense diplomatic row
- GOP Senator Lindsey Graham was part of a bipartisan US delegation to Kyiv this weekend, where he and two Democrats met with President Zelensky
- Graham said battle tanks are ‘outcome determinative’ in whether Ukraine wins
- Russia’s invasion of its Eastern European neighbor has lasted almost a year
Republicans and even some Democrats are piling pressure on the Biden administration and on Germany’s government to bolster Ukraine’s military resistance with top-of-the-line tanks.
It comes amid a tense diplomatic standoff between Washington and Munich about who will agree to the massive weapons boost first – if at all.
Ukraine’s government has been asking for battle tanks to help fight off Russia’s troops since just after Vladimir Putin first ordered his invasion early last year.
‘The debacle regarding sending tanks to Ukraine must end. It is impossible for Ukraine to expel Russia without tanks,’ Graham said in a statement on Sunday upon his return.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (4th R) meets with United States Senator Lindsey Graham (3rd R), Senator Richard Blumenthal (4th L) and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (3rd L) in Kyiv, Ukraine on January 20, 2023
The bipartisan delegation is the US Congress’ latest show of support for Ukraine’s resistance
‘I am hoping Germany and the United States will both send tanks ASAP – opening up other countries’ desire to help Ukraine.’
He added, ‘The tanks are outcome determinative in expelling Russia from Ukraine.’
Graham pointed out that the world’s foremost national security forum, the Munich Security Conference, would be hosted in Germany next month.
‘It would be unbelievably embarrassing to have a meeting of the free world in Munich while Ukraine’s military needs haven’t been met,’ the conservative senator said.
He traveled to Kyiv along with Democrat Sens. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, where they met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
They’re joining growing calls for the US to send its elite Abrams battle tanks (pictured alongside a M3 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle) to Ukraine’s war front
Graham called the meeting ‘incredible,’ and said that international vows of cooperation to help the wartime leader’s people ‘would ring hollow if the United States, Germany and others do not supply tanks to Ukraine to counter the coming Russian offensive and expel Russia from Ukraine.’
On the House side, Armed Services Committee Chair Rep. Michael McCaul suggested on ABC News’ This Week on Sunday that the U.S. sending its tanks could ‘unleash’ Germany to do the same.
‘What I hear is that Germany is waiting for us to take the lead,’ the Texas Republican said.
‘There are about 10 countries that have Leopard tanks, but they need Germany to sign off on release.’
A Ukrainian soldier practices with a mortar at their mortar position in the direction of Bakhmut, Ukraine as military mobility continues within the Russian-Ukrainian war on January 21, 2023
He added, ‘Even saying that we’re going to put Abrams tanks in, I think, would be enough for Germany to unleash.’
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz told U.S. lawmakers on the sidelines of last week’s Davos summit that he would not send Germany’s Leopard tanks – among the most advanced today – until Americans sent Ukraine Abrams tanks, according to Politico.
But on Sunday, Germany’s foreign minister signaled that a path forward is still feasible.
She told a French television network that her government ‘would not stand in the way’ if Poland wanted to send the Leopard battle tanks it got from Munich to Ukraine’s front lines, the Associated Press reported.
Warsaw has not requested to make such a shipment, but it signals the West is intent on seeing Ukraine’s needs filled as the tides of war steadily turn against Moscow’s offensive.