The US military confirmed to Voice of America that 31 Abrams tanks are in Ukraine.
All the Abrams tanks promised to Kyiv by the administration of President Joe Biden have arrived in Ukraine.
Col. Martin O’Donnell, a spokesman for the U.S. Army in Europe and Africa, told Voice of America that all Ukrainian troops who trained with American troops on Abrams tanks in Germany have returned to Ukraine. According to a senior military officer, 31 tanks with ammunition and spare parts are already in the country.
“We kept our end of the deal. From now on, they [the Ukrainians] must determine when and where they use this potential,” O’Donnell said.
The military official also explained that it may be some time before the Abrams are sent to the battlefield, as the Armed Forces must ensure that the armored vehicles have all the necessary support elements and determine when and where these tanks should be used for maximum effect. in battle against Russian troops.
“I think Ukraine will be careful about when and where it uses these armored vehicles,” O’Donnell said.
“The Abrams tank is a damn good armored vehicle, but it is not a panacea. Ultimately, Ukraine’s determination to achieve a breakthrough is what matters most.”
According to Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, the first of 31 American Abrams tanks was delivered to Ukraine late last month. The delivery was carried out faster than originally expected and just in time: for possible use in the last weeks of the Ukrainian Armed Forces’ counter-offensive against Russian troops before the onset of winter.
“Abrams are already in Ukraine and are preparing to strengthen our brigades,” Zelensky wrote in Telegram on September 25.
The Abrams will complement other Western tanks already in Ukraine’s arsenal as it fights to retake Russian-occupied territories in Ukraine’s eastern and southern regions.
The US commitment to donate Abrams tanks earlier this year was accompanied by a European pledge to supply German Leopard 2 tanks, something Berlin was reluctant to approve without a similar commitment from the United States.
Britain was the first country to agree to send Western tanks to Ukraine, offering its Challenger 2 tanks in January this year, which arrived in the spring.
Following Britain’s announcement, British Army Major Nick Bridges told VOA that Challenger 2 tanks could “take a few hits and still fight” even though they moved slower than Abrams tanks and “Leopard-2”.
“The fighting in Ukraine is becoming protracted and a heavy tank like the Challenger is needed, which can withstand a blow to a greater extent than the T-72 [a Russian-made tank], which will likely be destroyed in the first attack,” he said he is for the Voice of America.
Last month, Russian troops hit a Challenger 2 tank for the first time in Ukraine. A video released at the time showed the badly damaged tank on fire, and a Western defense source confirmed to news outlets that it was indeed a Challenger 2 tank, but that the entire crew survived the attack.
Ukraine has requested hundreds of Western tanks for its offensive. To date, they have received dozens.
Ukraine has stepped up missile and drone attacks against targets deep behind Russian lines, leaving parts of the occupied Crimean peninsula under constant shelling.
However, as winter approaches, Ukrainian forces have yet to achieve a decisive breakthrough, raising concerns among Kyiv’s supporters and questions about the future of international support for Ukraine.
The arrival of Abrams tanks in Ukraine comes as the United States last week provided up to $200 million in additional military aid to Ukraine. The Pentagon said the package includes air defense weapons such as the AIM-9 Sidewinder missile, High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) artillery ammunition, TOW anti-tank missiles, and 155mm and 105mm rounds.
It was the 48th time the US has used presidential spending-cutting powers to provide the Ukrainian military with equipment from US stockpiles, and the first time since Congress excluded new aid to Ukraine from a stopgap spending bill passed last month. to prevent a government shutdown.
The United States has provided about $44 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022.
The Pentagon still has about $5 billion in congressionally approved military aid funding for Ukraine.
Shortly after passing the stopgap spending bill, the House of Representatives removed House Speaker Kevin McCarthy from office. The US House of Representatives has not yet voted on a new speaker, and the fate of new aid to Ukraine may depend on who is elected.
Source : Голос Америки