“The Pentagon is working as fast as they can,” National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said.
FORT SILL, Okla. — The U.S. is accelerating the training and delivery of Abrams tanks and Patriot missile defense systems for Ukraine, as preparations ramp up for expected heavy fighting this year.
The Pentagon is aiming to refurbish existing M1A1 Abrams tank hulls in order to get them to Ukraine this fall, as opposed to building new tanks that would be delivered much later, according to a Defense Department official, who was granted anonymity in order to speak ahead of an announcement.
“The Pentagon is working as fast as they can,” National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said Tuesday on MSNBC when asked about the tanks. “We’re working on that. There’s some changes that you can make to the process, to sort of speed that up.”
Meanwhile, 65 Ukrainians are wrapping up training on the Patriot missile system at Fort Sill, Okla., in the coming days, base military officials said as they hosted a small group reporters to view the instruction. The Ukrainian air defenders and two donated Patriot systems will be on the battlefield in a matter of weeks, after training began in mid-January.
U.S. officials have long said that it would take months to get the Ukrainians trained and ready to operate Abrams tanks and Patriot systems, both of which come with expensive and complicated logistics and maintenance chains.
At the training range in Oklahoma, however, Brig. Gen. Shane Morgan, commanding general of the Army’s Fires Center of Excellence, called the Ukrainian soldiers “impressive, and absolutely a quick study” in complex equipment.
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