WATCH: White House says battle tanks will ‘have an effect’ in Ukraine

The White House on Wednesday said the 31 Abrams battle tanks that the U.S. is sending to Ukraine will “have an effect,” but it warned that the American people need to prepare themselves that the U.S. will “have to continue to support Ukraine for some time.”

Watch the briefing in the player above.

White House National Security Council Spokesman John Kirby made the comments at the White House briefing Wednesday, shortly after President Joe Biden announced his decision to send the tanks to Ukraine, reversing months of persistent arguments that they were too difficult for Ukrainian troops to operate and maintain.

The decision came on the heels of Germany agreeing to send 14 Leopard 2 A6 tanks from its own stocks.

“What this decision does do is show that how unified we are with our allies and partners and doing all of this in a coordinated way,” Kirby said.

The White House said that in total, European allies have agreed to send enough tanks to equip two Ukrainian tank battalions, a total of 62 tanks.

READ MORE: U.S. and Germany send battle tanks to aid Ukraine against Russia

“There’s a lot that’s being applied to this. And armored vehicles are important. You know, you don’t go after a crocodile with a corn stalk,” Kirby said. “Those armored vehicles are…going to have an effect.”

Altogether, France, the U.K., the U.S., Poland, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden will send hundreds of tanks and heavy armored vehicles to fortify Ukraine as it enters a new phase of the war and attempts to break through entrenched Russian lines.

Though it will take months before their debut, the tanks will enable Ukraine’s forces to launch counter-offensives and reduce casualties, three military commanders, including two in the army’s tank division, told The Associated Press.

Still, both Biden And Kirby underscored the tanks should not be seen as an “offensive threat to Russia.”

“Do they represent a threat to Russian soldiers? You bet they do,” Kirby said. “But not to Russian soldiers that are in Ukraine. Not to Russia proper.”