The US is in the final stages of preparing a massive new military aid package to Ukraine which will total as much as $2.6 billion, the Associated Press previewed Wednesday night, and its to include nearly 100 Stryker combat vehicles - marking the first time the Stryker will be introduced to the Ukrainian battlefield - and at least 50 Bradley Fighting Vehicles.
It could be announced by the end of the week, and is expected to rank among the biggest single packages unveiled since the start of the war. When pressed for further details, State Department spokesman Ned Price simply said, "Two words: stay tuned."
Similar to Bradley vehicles, the Stryker moves infantry across the battlefield, but are lighter and faster than the Bradley. "What we’re trying to look at is the mix of armored and mechanized forces that make sense," undersecretary of defense for policy Colin Kahl said separately on Wednesday.
"The Russians are really digging in. They’re digging in. They’re digging trenches, they’re putting in these dragon’s teeth, laying mines. They’re really trying to fortify that that FLOT, that forward line of troops," Kahl continued.
"To enable the Ukrainians to break through given Russian defenses, the emphasis has been shifted to enabling them to combine fire and maneuver in a way that will prove to be more effective."
But the real question is whether Washington will sign off on going past the 'light tanks' or mere troop carriers that it has currently limited itself to providing. The Scholz government of Germany surprised allies this week in saying it's ready to approve sending German-manufactured Leopard tanks to Ukraine only if Washington leads the way in approving its own heavy tanks.
"Germany won’t allow allies to ship German-made tanks to Ukraine to help its defense against Russia nor send its own systems unless the U.S. agrees to send American-made battle tanks, senior German officials said on Wednesday," according to The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday.
But given Berlin knew that the Biden administration has shut the door on approving American M1 Abrams (at least for now), this could have been a ploy to effectively end the debate and take the pressure off the Scholz government.