A total of 31 pieces are expected
The first Abrams tanks reach Ukraine
September 25, 2023, 2:51 p.m
In the partly heavily mined terrain in the south of Ukraine, Ukraine is having difficulty liberating the areas. US main battle tanks of the Abrams type are intended to give the counteroffensive new impetus. President Zelenskyj now announces: The first examples of the heavy equipment have now arrived in the country.
According to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, the first US Abrams tanks have arrived in Ukraine. “The Abrams are already in Ukraine and are preparing to reinforce our brigades,” Zelensky wrote on Telegram. In total, the United States announced the transfer of 31 main battle tanks to Ukraine. Zelensky did not provide any information about the number of US tanks already in the country. He thanked the allies for the weapons assistance. The USA is considered Kiev’s most important military supporter.
A few days ago, US President Joe Biden announced the delivery of the first Abrams tanks to Ukraine this week. The Abrams is said to be equipped with 120 millimeter caliber armor-piercing ammunition containing depleted uranium. The use of uranium ammunition is not prohibited under international law. However, the use is controversial because the material is toxic – both for the soldiers and for people living in the war zone.
Since the start of the war, US military aid to Ukraine has amounted to $43.9 billion, according to government figures. Most recently, weapons and equipment worth 128 million dollars (around 120 million euros) were newly approved from US military stocks. ATACMS missiles with a range of up to 300 kilometers, which Kiev had long requested, were not officially included.
Mud season is coming
Ukraine’s Western allies had long struggled to supply battle tanks. The US announcement finally came at the end of January in parallel with Germany’s promise of Leopard tanks. Initially, the US government argued that it did not consider the provision of this main battle tank to make sense for various practical reasons. In the end, however, Washington surprisingly reversed course. Ukrainian soldiers were trained on the Abrams at the US military training area in Grafenwöhr, Bavaria.
It is heavily dependent on Western financial and military aid to defend itself against the Russian war of aggression. Last year, the Ukrainian military succeeded in stopping the Russian army in front of Kiev and later also in forcing the Russians to retreat in the northeastern Ukrainian region of Kharkiv and the Black Sea region of Kherson. Since June, another Ukrainian offensive has been underway with the aim of liberating more areas, especially in the south, and driving a wedge between the Russian occupation troops stationed there.
So far, this offensive has been slow. Western military observers attribute this to massive mining of the area by Russian troops. It is said that the Ukrainians have now broken through this first defensive wall at least in one place. The tanks are intended to be used to advance as quickly as possible after overcoming the minefields in order to conquer further terrain. The Abrams could also be helpful in the muddy period that is about to begin.