U.S. approves $6B tank contract with Poland

The State Department authorized a long-awaited $6 billion contract to deliver Poland 250 Abrams tanks on Friday. This statement comes as additional U.S. soldiers and planes stream into the nation in the wake of a probable Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced the pact early Friday in a Warsaw news conference with his Polish colleague Mariusz Blaszczak.

“What Mr. Putin did not like was a more vital NATO on his side, and that’s precisely what he has today,” Austin said.

The ultimate delivery “will also increase our interoperability with the Polish armed forces, strengthening the credibility of our joint deterrent operations and those of our other NATO Allies.”

The container is another element in Poland’s vast military modernization program, arriving on top of a $6.5 billion contract Poland inked in 2019 to purchase 32 F-35 fighter fighters and other deals to cultivate mobile rocket guns plans from the United States.

In Vienna, Michael Carpenter upped Washington’s review of the power Russia has created up along Ukraine’s edge, stating between 169,000 and 190,000 armies “are in and around Ukraine as resembled with nearly 100,000 on January 30.”

Over the last two weeks, the Biden government has sent nearly 5,000 additional soldiers to Poland, strengthening the 4,000 troops there while moving two Stryker brigades in Germany to Romania and Bulgaria.

A U.S. military source told POLITICO that the American involvement in Poland is “very limited” and focused on training the Polish military and supporting and processing any American citizens who could leave any conflict in Ukraine.

According to the official, many unknowns about what will happen requested anonymity to discuss a sensitive subject.

He went on to say that any large influx of Ukrainians fleeing the fighting would fall on the shoulders of the Polish government and the European Union and that “we would have to be asked to do that.”

Austin addressed the issue in Warsaw on Friday, stating that “if Russia continues its invasion of Ukraine, Poland could see tens of thousands of displaced Ukrainians and others flooding across its border, trying to save themselves and their families from the scourge of war.” Austin also expressed concern about the situation in Ukraine.

This week has witnessed a rush of new action as NATO and its partners strive to preempt a renewed Russian assault into Ukraine. Kamala Harris met with NATO chairman Jens Stoltenberg and Eastern European heads of state at the Munich Security Conference early Friday.

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This afternoon, President Joe Biden will conduct a conference call on the Ukraine issue with representatives from Canada, the European Union (EU), and NATO to discuss the situation in Ukraine.

While purchasing the Abrams tanks has been authorized, the Polish government still needs to negotiate a formal contract with General Dynamics and other U.S. military businesses that construct the tanks and their components. That implies it will be months, if not years, before the first tanks arrive in Poland.

Representatives from both the House and the Senate have urged the administration to expedite the sale in recent weeks. The timing of the agreement might be seen as part of a bigger U.S. drive into Eastern Europe.

This week witnessed a significant increase in American airpower in the area, as eight new F-15s from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina, landed at the Lask Air Base in Poland, more than doubling the number of American F-15s that had already been there earlier this month. Six additional F-16s landed in Estonia to patrol the Baltic Sea this month.

This week, an additional eight F-16s in Germany relocated to an airfield in Romania while Utah-based F-35s deployed to Germany.