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US to donate Stryker armored vehicles to Ukraine as part of upcoming aid package

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The Biden administration is preparing to announce a roughly $2.5 billion military aid package for Ukraine that is expected to include dozens of Bradley and Stryker armored vehicles, according to two people familiar with the decision, as the Pentagon steps up support ahead of expected counter-offensive against entrenched Russian forces.

The war has entered a phase, US officials said, which will require Ukrainian units to attack enemy forces in a concerted manner, using tanks, armored vehicles, artillery and aviation in what the we call combined arms warfare. Bradleys and Strykers would greatly boost their firepower and allow soldiers to move quickly across the battlefield.

The upcoming transfer could hold nearly 100 Strykers, one such person said. It would be the first time the Pentagon has provided Ukraine with such vehicles. People familiar with the plan spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss it ahead of an official announcement.

The Bradley Fighting Vehicles included in this transfer will be added to the 50 vehicles announcement earlier this month in a separate $3 billion arms package, the people said. The next tranche of aid will also include a substantial resupply of ammunition for howitzers and rocket artillery, they said, and more mine-resistant vehicles.

US pledges $3 billion in arms to help Ukraine ‘take back territory’

The new vehicles are intended to complement large scale combined arms training that several hundred Ukrainian soldiers are receiving at a US military installation in Germany to help change the dynamics of the battlefield, US officials said. As winter set in, the fighting became concentrated in the south and east, escalating into a fierce brawl where both sides suffered heavy losses for modest gains.

“The Russians are really digging. … They dig trenches, they put in those dragon teeth, they lay mines. They are really trying to fortify this FLOT, this forward line of troops,” Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl told Pentagon reporters on Wednesday. “To enable the Ukrainians to break through given the Russian defences, the focus has been on allowing them to combine fire and maneuver in a way that will prove most effective.”

It is unlikely, however, that this aid package will include one of Kyiv’s most passionate demands: the M1 Abrams main battle tanks. The administration has rejected those demands, pointing to the logistical and technical burdens of operating the systems and suggesting they could quickly become an obstacle for Ukrainians.

“The Abrams tank is very complicated equipment. It’s expensive. It’s hard to train. It has a jet engine. I think it’s about three gallons per mile of jet fuel. It’s not the easiest system to maintain,” Kahl said. “It may not be the right system, but we’ll keep looking for what makes sense.”

Politics first reported last week that the transfer of the American Strykers was under consideration.

Poland urges allies to join in sending Leopard tanks to Ukraine

Bradley and Strykers offer different capacities. Strykers are eight-wheeled armored transports that top out at 60 miles per hour. They have several variations, the most common of which is an infantry vehicle that can carry a squad of nine soldiers with a driver and a vehicle commander.

The rear door of the vehicle drops down like a ramp, allowing soldiers to jump into active battle or march into combat from a distant infiltration point. Strykers have primary armaments like heavy machine guns and automatic grenade launchers, with hatches that allow soldiers to stand inside the vehicle and look outward to defend its flanks.

The vehicle was first used in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, generating mixed reviews from American soldiers. Although quieter than an Abrams, it is less armored and more likely to get stuck in mud. The US military has been quick to add cages around vehicles to help pre-detonate rocket-propelled grenades fired by insurgents. The cages added to the weight and dimensions of the vehicle, accelerating the wear they suffered.

It’s unclear whether Strykers sent to Ukraine will include such cages, which will also make them more difficult to transport.

The Bradleys, on the other hand, are heavier and slower. They run on tracks that help them through muddy conditions. These vehicles carry fewer troops than Strykers, although their thicker armor and armament, including TOW missiles and a 25mm cannon, make them more suitable for direct combat.

News organizations, including the Washington Post, asked to observe the training provided by members of the US service. The Ministry of Defense did not grant such requests.

War in Ukraine: what you need to know

The last: Russia claimed on Friday it had taken control of Soledar, a hotly contested mining town in eastern Ukraine where fighting has raged in recent days, but a Ukrainian military official argued the battle was not yet over. finished.

Russia’s bet: La Poste has examined road to war in Ukraineand Western efforts to unite to thwart Kremlin plans, through in-depth interviews with more than three dozen senior US, Ukrainian, European and NATO officials.

Pictures: Washington Post photographers have been in the field since the war began — here are some of their most powerful works.

How you can help: Here’s how those in the United States can support the Ukrainian people as good as what people around the world have given.

Read our full coverage of the Russia–Ukraine War. Are you on Telegram? Subscribe to our channel for updates and exclusive video.

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