Zelenski confirms first U.S.-made tanks arrived in Ukraine

The Joe Biden administration delivered older versions of Abrams – M1A1.

Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelenski announced in a Telegram post on 25 September that his country has received an initial shipment of 31 American-made Abrams tanks which his U.S. counterpart Joe Biden had promised. 

Ukraine received Abrams of older model, M1A1, which – along with German-made Leopards – will be employed as the knife edge in its counteroffensive to regain the territories lost to Russia.

The New York Times quoted two U.S. defense officials as saying under the condition of anonymity that this delivery marked “the beginning of a series of shipments scheduled for the upcoming months.” Kyiv has likely received two platoons of tanks, typically comprising around eight to ten tanks each, the report goes on. 

The Ukrainian government says it needs at least 300 main battle tanks to boost its advance onto Russian lines.

So far, the Western allies have sent or pledged – according to various estimates – around 270 Leopard-1 and 130 Leopard-2 tanks. Another 14 Challenger heavy tanks arrived from the United Kingdom last spring and some 60 PT-91 were expected from Poland. 

The first two dozen Leopards arrived in February 2023.

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The deployment of Abrams and Challenger tanks has been problematic because they need an extensive maintenance infrastructure and new ammunition depots.

On the other hand, the training of Ukrainian personnel for these advanced machines takes longer than on other tanks, at least 12 months. The first teams of Ukrainian operators for Abrams learned the job in a compressed 12-week course at U.S. bases in Germany.

Ukraine manufactures its own models Oplot and Bulat, which are upgrades of Soviet or Russian main battle tanks.

Russia is capable of manufacturing about 200 tanks of various brands yearly.


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