The United States is accelerating its delivery of Abrams tanks to Ukraine.
President Biden announced in January that the United States would be providing the Ukrainians with advanced battle tanks so they can defend their land and people from Russia’s full and brutal invasion. The same day, Germany announced it would send 14 of its Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine and allow other European countries to send German-made tanks from their own stockpiles.
“The DOD [Department of Defense], in close coordination with Ukraine, has made the decision to provide the M1A1 variant of the Abrams tank, which will enable us to significantly expedite delivery timelines and deliver this important capability to Ukraine by the fall of this year,” Pentagon Press Secretary Brigadier General Pat Ryder told reporters.
The M1A1s will be refurbished from excess hulls in U.S. inventory and will provide Ukraine with advanced armor and weapons systems, to include the 120 millimeter cannon and 50 caliber heavy machine gun. “This is about getting this important combat capability into the hands of the Ukrainians sooner rather than later,” Press Secretary Brigadier General Ryder said.
He expressed confidence that the United States can ensure that the Ukrainians receive the necessary training in time for the tanks to be delivered. He underscored that having such a significant main battle tank capability will help the Ukrainians meet many needs; “taking territory, retaking territory…sustaining those gains at some point in the future, as well as being able to deter future Russian aggression.”
Brigadier General Ryder declared, “This is all part of our broader near-term and longer-term support to Ukraine and their defense requirements.”
In recent testimony to Congress, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin noted, “Under President Biden’s leadership, the United States has rallied the world to help Ukraine fight Russia’s unprovoked and indefensible invasion. Our allies and partners have stepped up to provide crucial security assistance, coordinated through the Ukraine Defense Contact Group that I lead.
“And we will support Ukraine’s defense for as long as it takes.”