US President Joe Biden appeared to confirm on Wednesday that sending Bradley infantry fighting vehicles to Ukraine was being actively discussed, although the White House insisted nothing had been decided yet.
“Yes,” Biden said, when asked about the Bradleys during a trip to Kentucky. Bloomberg News interpreter this as confirmation of their Dec. 29 “scoop” that tracked IVCs were on the table as possible aid to Kyiv, which cited unnamed sources.
Meanwhile, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby gave a different answer when pressed on the issue.
“I’m not going to preempt security assistance decisions that haven’t been made yet, or what we’re going to provide in future packages,” he told reporters. Kirby followed that up with the standard talking points the US was working on ” on the double “ with Ukrainians and trying to fulfill their “needs and abilities and requirements” in real time.
On the same day Bloomberg brought up the Bradleys, Politico described how Ukraine was able to convince the West to hand over more powerful weapons, from man-portable anti-tank missiles to HIMARS rocket artillery. Ukrainian Defense Minister Alexey Reznikov boasted in October that he understood the “political process” in Washington and calibrated its demands to finally lead to “Crossing the Rubicon” and receiving tanks.
Biden himself said last month that the West is trying not to get directly involved in a conflict with Russia. However, his government continued to increase arms deliveries to Kyiv, despite repeated warnings from Moscow that this would only prolong the conflict and risk open confrontation.
In early December, Ukrainian General-in-Chief Valery Zaluzhny told The Economist that he needed an additional 300 tanks, up to 700 infantry fighting vehicles and 500 howitzers to carry out offensive operations, more than the British armies or Germans had none themselves.
While several NATO countries had also sent their Soviet-era T-72 tanks to Ukraine, France announced on Wednesday that it would send an undetermined number of AMX-10 RC light wheeled tanks, in a another step through Reznikov’s metaphorical Rubicon.
The Bradley is an infantry fighting vehicle developed by the United States in the 1970s in response to the Soviet BMP. It is usually armed with a 25mm autocannon and a TOW anti-tank missile launcher. Mark Cancian of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) think tank called it “actually a light tank” and “a major increase in ground combat capability” for the Ukrainian forces on the M113, the Vietnamese-era armored personnel carrier that the Americans had sent them before.
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