According to US officials, the first batch of 31 M1 Abrams main battle tanks promised to Ukraine by the Biden administration has been delivered ahead of schedule.
President Volodymyr Zelensky announced on Monday that the American-made tanks had arrived, providing Kyiv with the necessary firepower to counter Russian forces. Additional M1 tanks will be sent to Ukraine in the coming months, as part of the administration’s promise to provide 31 tanks in total.
“Abrams are already in Ukraine and are preparing to reinforce our brigades,” Mr. Zelensky wrote, adding that he was “grateful to allies.”
While it is unclear how many have been delivered so far, the tanks will join Ukraine’s current arsenal as they continue to fight for control over Russian-occupied territory in the eastern and southern regions. However, Kyrylo Budanov, the head of Ukraine’s military intelligence, has emphasized the importance of deploying the tanks strategically to avoid destruction.
According to retired American military officers, there may be a delay in deploying the Abrams tanks to the battlefield as Ukrainian troops need to confirm they have the necessary support elements and determine the optimal time and location for their use.
Ben Hodges, a retired general who previously led the US Army in Europe stated that it is probable that the tanks’ whereabouts will be kept confidential until they are actively engaged in combat to avoid losing them to precise attacks.