“Good news… ‘Abrams’ are already in Ukraine and are preparing to reinforce our brigades. I am grateful to the allies for fulfilling the agreements! We are looking for new contracts, expanding the geography of supply,” Zelenskyy said on Telegram.
The tanks that arrived in Ukraine mark the initial delivery out of the 31 tanks promised by the Biden administration.
The Pentagon had announced in January that 31 M1A2 Abrams tanks would be delivered to Ukraine, but officials had speculated it would take about a year to make that happen. In March, the US said it will instead send M1A1 Abrams tanks from refurbished hulls already in US inventory, and the delivery will be in the fall — faster than what was initially expected.
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said last week Ukraine will “soon” receive American M1 Abrams tanks to aid Kyiv's counter-offensive against Russia.
The newly arrived Abrams tanks will join Ukraine's existing tank inventory, potentially enabling them to advance into and potentially regain control of areas in Ukraine's eastern and southern regions currently held by Russia. In these regions, conflicts have persisted for months with no significant advancements.
The head of Ukraine’s military intelligence Kyrylo Budanov told American military blog “The Warzone” on Friday the Abrams tanks “should be used in a very tailored way for very specific, well-crafted operations because if they are used at the front line and just in a combined arms fight, they will not live very long on the battlefield.”
He added: “They need to be used in those breakthrough operations, but very well-prepared.”