The first batch of American-made M1 Abrams main battle tanks “will be entering Ukraine soon,” US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin told reporters on Tuesday. An anonymous military official told AFP that deliveries will begin within days.
“I’m … pleased to announce that the M1 Abrams tanks that the United States had previously committed to will be entering Ukraine soon,” Austin said at a meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group in Germany.
This panel of nearly 50 countries has met 15 times since Russia’s military operation in Ukraine began last February, with each meeting followed by fresh pledges of military aid from America and its allies.
Citing an anonymous US military official, the AFP news agency reported that the first Abrams tanks will arrive in Ukraine in the coming days, with the process to be completed within weeks.
The tanks will be equipped with depleted uranium shells, a toxic ammunition whose use has been condemned by the United Nations.
Kiev has requested these flagship American tanks since last year, but Washington has hesitated on handing them over. Back in January, Pentagon officials told the Washington Post that the Abrams tanks consumed too much fuel and were too unreliable for the Ukrainian military to make effective use of them.
Source of data and images: lenta