WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden said Wednesday that the U.S. is considering sending Bradley Fighting Vehicles to help Ukraine combat Russia’s ongoing invasion.
Biden was asked during an exchange with reporters while traveling in Kentucky whether providing the tracked armored fighting vehicle to Ukraine was on the table. He responded “yes,” without offering further comment.
With Russia's war on Ukraine now in its 11th month, Kyiv has been pressing the U.S. for tanks, longer-range missiles, armor and air defense systems. Intense fighting has continued in eastern Ukraine despite the onset of winter.
The Bradley is a medium armored combat vehicle that can serve as a troop carrier. It has tracks rather than wheels, but the vehicle is lighter and more agile than a tank. It can carry about 10 personnel, or be configured instead to carry additional ammunition or communications equipment.
Bradleys are still used by the U.S. Army, although the military has been looking for a replacement for years.
The Pentagon has already provided Ukraine with more than 2,000 combat vehicles, including 477 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles and more than 1,200 Humvees.
Biden announced last month that the U.S. would for the first time send Ukraine a Patriot missile battery, the most advanced surface-to-air missile system the West has provided to help repel Russian aerial attacks.
The U.S. Congress last month approved nearly $44.9 billion in military and economic aid for a war that has no end in sight.
The same day Biden acknowledged that he was weighing sending Bradleys to Ukraine, France announced it would send French-made AMX-10 RC light tanks to Ukraine — the first tanks to be supplied by a Western European country. That announcement followed a phone call between French President Emmanuel Macron and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
The French presidency didn’t say how many tanks would be delivered and when. The NATO member has given Ukraine anti-tank and air defense missiles and rocket launchers.
Zelenskyy, who visited Washington last month, has made clear to the U.S. and Western allies that Ukraine needs more sophisticated weaponry.
“I assure you that Ukrainian soldiers can perfectly operate American tanks and planes for themselves," Zelenskyy said during an address to American lawmakers during the visit.
Aamer Madhani And Tara Copp, The Associated Press