By Kevin Zhang
U.S. President Biden and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced Thursday that they would be sending additional armored fighting vehicles to Ukraine, following a similar pledge on Wednesday by French President Emmanuel Macron.
As the war in Ukraine continues, western countries are increasingly more willing to send lethal and advanced weaponry to aid Ukraine, from heavy artillery and rockets to advanced air defense systems and armored vehicles, which Kyiv has been requesting since the onset of the war.
On Wednesday, French President Macron announced that France would supply AMX-10 RC armored vehicles. Following a phone call on Thursday, Biden and Scholz made a joint announcement that the U.S. would provide Bradley infantry fighting vehicles while Germany would send Marder infantry fighting vehicles.
Macron’s announcement had placed Germany under pressure because Berlin had justified its reluctance to send their Leopard 2 tanks, which Kyiv has been requesting for months, on the grounds that no other western country had agreed to send their domestically produced tanks.
The armored vehicles provided in this package should provide Ukraine new capabilities ahead of counteroffensives expected this coming spring, but Kyiv is likely to continue pushing for German Leopards and American Abrams tanks.
Currently, fighting is focused around the eastern city of Bakhmut, which Russian soldiers and Wagner Group mercenaries have been attempting to capture for months.
Russia says that 89 of its soldiers were killed in a Ukraine artillery strike on New Year’s Day in occupied Donetsk, while Ukraine puts the death toll around 400. Neither number is verifiable, but it appears to be the single deadliest strike in the war so far.
Russia’s Defense Ministry claimed unauthorized cell phone use by its soldiers allowed the Ukrainians to target the building housing them with a U.S.-provided HIMARS system.