The new chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee said Sunday it is important the United States announce it is supplying tanks to Ukraine in order to get Germany and other nations to do so.
Speaking on ABC’s “This Week,” Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) said the U.S. needed to make moves to spur European nations into action and help President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Ukraine avoid an extended, bloody war of attrition — what McCaul called “a slow bleed without a chance of victory.”
McCaul said: “If we announce we were going to give Abrams tanks, just one, that would unleash … From what I hear, Germany is waiting for us to take the lead.”
He said that would create a domino effect, leading other nations in Europe to send Leopard 2 tanks as well. “Even saying we’re going to put Abrams tanks in, I think would be enough for Germany to unleash,” McCaul told host Martha Raddatz.
While much of Europe has been consistently supportive of Ukraine in its 11-month-old war with Russia, the question has been how much help to provide, particularly when it comes to weaponry. There are a variety of practical concerns involved, including the need to train Ukrainian forces to operate and maintain what is sent to them. And there is the possibility that Russian President Vladimir Putin could expand the war if he were to feel threatened by the West.
Germany on Friday said it had yet to decide whether to send tanks to Ukraine. Poland on Sunday accused Germany of dragging its feet on providing assistance to Ukraine and suggested it would be be willing to create its own coalition of countries to assist Zelenskyy’s forces. “We will not passively watch Ukraine bleed to death,” Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said.
Russia, for its part, has threatened the West with reprisals should Ukraine be supplied with more lethal weaponry. “With their decisions, Washington and Brussels are leading the world to a terrible war,” Vyacheslav Volodin, chair of Russia’s lower house, said Sunday.
Beyond tanks, McCaul also said Ukraine needs long-range artillery. Ukraine has said it needs more help because it expects Russia to launch new offensives, which McCaul expects to happen soon.
“The two main things that Zelenskyy is talking about, and everybody I’ve talked to, they need the tanks for the winter offensive that the Russians are going to perpetrate, and they need the longer-range artillery,” McCaul said.