The Pentagon on Friday announced it will be funding tanks sent to Ukraine for the first time, part of a $400 million military assistance package that will also provide armored vehicles, drones and a budget to refurbish air defense missiles.
The additional military, ground and air capabilities come as Ukrainian forces are pushing forward on an offensive to retake the southern city of Kherson, even as they come under increased aerial attacks from Russia, including from Iranian-supplied drones.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had called for NATO to supply tanks within the first weeks of Russia’s invasion, which began on Feb. 24.
On Friday he tweeted that Ukraine is “thankful to [President Biden] and the people of [the United States] for another $400 military assistance package.”
The weapons package includes 90 refurbished T-72 tanks, which will all come from the Czech Republic. The United States will pay for 45 of them to be refurbished, while the Netherlands will pay to refurbish the other 45, according to Pentagon deputy press secretary Sabrina Singh.