By Steve Holland
WASHINGTON (Reuters). -Senior U.S. officials have advised Ukraine to delay launching a major offensive against Russian troops until the latest U.S. weapons supply is available and training has been completed, a senior Biden administration official stated on Friday.
An official speaking on condition of anonymity to a small number of reporters said that the United States would not send Abrams tanks from Ukraine at this time due to ongoing tensions with Germany.
According to reporters at the White House this week, President Joe Biden approved a new $2.5 Billion weapons package for Ukraine. “Ukraine is going to get all the help they need,” When asked if he supported Poland’s plan to send German-made Leopard tank to Ukraine, he said yes.
The official stated that U.S. negotiations with Ukraine over any counter-offensive are being held in the context of making sure the Ukrainians have enough time to train on the latest weapons provided by the United States.
According to U.S. officials, an offensive could be more successful if the Ukrainians took advantage of the training and significant infusions of new weaponry.
On Thursday, the United States announced that it would send hundreds of armored vehicles into Ukraine to aid in the fighting.
A high-ranking U.S. delegation, including Wendy Sherman, Deputy Secretary of States, and Jon Finer (White House deputy national security advisor), was visiting Kyiv recently to meet with Ukrainian officials.
Washington thinks that Ukraine has spent a lot of resources protecting Bakhmut. However, there’s a good chance that the Russians will ultimately push the Ukrainians from Bakhmut.
The official stated that if this happens, it won’t result in any strategic shifts on the battlefield.
The official stated that one consideration for the Ukrainians is how much money they continue to put into Bakhmut defense, at a moment when they are preparing to launch an offensive to drive out the Russians from areas they control in the south of Ukraine.
Officials from the U.S. are working with Ukrainians to reach this agreement, the official stated.
Officials from the U.S. are also advising Ukraine that it should change how Kyiv conducts war. They advise Ukraine not to try to match Russia with artillery fire, as Moscow will ultimately win the war.
According to the official, this is why the U.S. has recently supplied armored vehicles as part of its latest supply of weaponry. It will assist Ukraine in changing how it fights war.
The fighting on the frontlines has been hindered by bad winter weather, but a cold snap that freezes the ground and hardens it could open the door for either side, Serhiy Haidai (guvernor of Ukraine’s Luhansk Region) said.
According to the official, the United States doesn’t plan to send Abrams tanks into Ukraine at this time because they are expensive and difficult to maintain.
Boris Pistorius, German Defence Minister, denied Berlin unilaterally blocking shipment of Leopard main combat tanks to Ukraine. However, he said that the government was willing to quickly send them if there is consensus among allies.
(Reporting by Steve Holland, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien, Howard Goller and Raju Gopalakrishnan
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