The U.S. respects the sovereign decisions of NATO and other allied nations regarding their security assistance to Ukraine, the Pentagon press secretary said. "We're absolutely supportive of any type of defense capabilities that our international allies and partners can provide to Ukraine to include tanks," Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said at a briefing today.
The U.S. has agreed to provide Ukraine with Bradley Fighting Vehicles, and there are discussions among NATO nations about delivering tanks, as well.
"Part of the equation that goes into that is the ability to train on this equipment, sustain it and maintain it. … We certainly are supportive of any type of capability that will give the Ukrainians an advantage on the battlefield," he said, adding that these are discussions the Defense Department has on an ongoing basis with allies and will be included in next week's meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contract Group.
The U.S. has supplied Ukraine with a large share of much-needed security assistance.
But Ryder stressed that "we're not going to do anything that's going to prevent us from being able to meet our national security requirements. The Department of Defense is working very closely with industry to identify what our needs and our requirements are. And we're confident that given the robust industrial base that we have, that we'll be able to work through those challenges and make sure that we can replenish our stocks, in addition to working closely with our allies and partners around the world on the same problem set."
Separately, Ryder said he's seen press reports on discussions in South Korea to develop its own nuclear arms capability to counter North Korea.
That's a decision South Korea will have to make, but U.S. policy is focused on complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, Ryder said.
"I'm working, as always, with our [South Korean], Japanese and other allies in the region to preserve security, stability and, importantly, to deter aggression from countries like North Korea. We have nearly 30,000 U.S. forces stationed in South Korea alone that are focused on supporting and defending our [South Korean] allies. So, our commitment towards this end remains ironclad," he said.