In a move that could be announced next week, the US is reportedly considering adding to the number of armored infantry vehicles being sent to the Ukrainian front lines by multiple countries and sending Kyiv Stryker armored combat vehicles.
Though no final decision has been made, Politico is citing two sources familiar with the matter as saying that Strykers could be sent in an upcoming aid package to help Ukraine troops fend off an expected Russian spring offensive.
According to a Defense Department official, who asked for anonymity to discuss internal deliberations ahead of an announcement, the Biden administration could announce the package – with or without Strykers – late next week around the time of the next Ukraine Defense Contact Group meeting in Germany.
As concerns grow that Moscow is planning a second mobilization for a major new offensive in the coming weeks, Kyiv’s rapidly growing arsenal could use the capability boost that Strykers will provide it on top of meeting its critical need for armor though they might not be as powerful or protective as tanks.
The DoD official also admitted the Strykers are not as good as a Bradley for a tank fight but pointed but that they’re good to protect infantry and get up close to a fight and could offer a balance between a tank and an armored personnel carrier.
Built by General Dynamics Land Systems, the eight-wheeled armored fighting vehicle can operate in snow, mud, and sand, though by its lack of tracks somewhat limit its off-road mobility.
Previously last week, the Biden administration announced it will send 50 Bradley Fighting Vehicles – a powerful tracked armored vehicle that carries an autocannon a machine gun, and TOW missiles.
Ukraine already received thousands of combat vehicles – including Humvees and mine-resistant vehicles used to move troops on the battlefield- that Pentagon has sent.
While Western nations remained for months stuck in debating who goes big first, sending powerful armored vehicles like the Bradley and Strykers could be a precursor to providing tanks to Ukraine.