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U.S. armored tanks will give Ukraine ‘critical leverage’ in spring offensive: Senator Reed

Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) speaks with Yahoo Finance Live about the U.S.'s continued support to Ukraine, including a recent shipment of tanks, and what it will take to possibly end the conflict with Russia.

Video Transcript

- The US reaching an agreement to send tanks to the front lines in Ukraine's war with Russia. Ukrainian officials welcoming the news while also pressing for more support, including fighter jets. We want to bring in Senator Jack Reed, who is chair of the Armed Services Committee, joining us now to discuss. Senator Reed, it's great to have you here. Thanks so much.

JACK REED: Oh, it's great to be with you. Thank you so much.

- So while some lawmakers did oppose this decision, it did get support from key congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle. Where do the discussions now stand on sending those jets that Ukraine wants?

JACK REED: Well, I mean, the first issue is the capability of the Ukrainians to use the equipment effectively. Then the second issue is you have to continue to evaluate the potential for escalation. I think at this point, and I was in Ukraine about three weeks ago with President Zelenskyy, that the provision of fighting vehicles and tanks and air defense systems will give them critical leverage as they start a spring offensive. And they can exploit that.

The airspace in Ukraine is not even used by the Russians because of the extensive antiaircraft defenses. So, again, I think the first priority is to get those fighting vehicles and tanks into the theater of operations.

- Senator, nice to see you. You're just back from Ukraine. You got a look firsthand at the situation. We saw a video of you meeting with President Zelenskyy. Your sense of where we are in this war 11 months in? And is there any end anywhere in sight?

JACK REED: Well, I think, first of all, there was remarkable courage by the Ukrainians and also by President Zelenskyy. And that has made a critical difference. And also the exposure of the capabilities of the Russians, they weren't quite as capable as we thought and certainly not as capable as they thought.

And now we're in the situation where the lines have hardened in the south and the east of Ukraine. And each side is preparing for offensives when the weather improves in the spring. It's critical that the Ukrainians are successful in their offensive operations, they're able to exploit them.

And also at that point, I think they'll have political leverage to initiate or begin or at least to have Putin consider more thoughtfully a ceasefire or something like that. But at this point, they've got to keep winning. And the more they win, the more likely they'll get to the table to negotiate.