Ukraine to receive US Abrams tanks by fall: Pentagon

March 22, 2023

Pentagon says the tanks would give Ukraine a very similar capability to the M1A2 that Washington had originally intended to provide

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In this file photo taken on March 15, 2010 an Iraqi soldier stands atop an Abrams-M1A1 tank while another one jumps onto the ground during a training session with US troops on using the US-made main battle tanks at the joint Iraqi-American military base of Basmaya on the southern outskirts of Baghdad on March 15, 2010.— AFP

WASHINGTON: The United States will deliver Abrams tanks to Ukraine by the fall of 2023 — significantly faster than expected — while Patriot air defences will also arrive on an "expedited timeline," the Pentagon said Tuesday.

In coordination with Kyiv, Washington "made the decision to provide the M1A1 variant of the Abrams tank," Press Secretary Brigadier General Pat Ryder told journalists.

This "will enable us to significantly expedite delivery timelines and deliver this important capability to Ukraine by the fall of this year."

Ryder said the tanks would give Ukraine "a very similar capability to the M1A2" that Washington had originally intended to provide, but declined to go into specifics about differences between the variants.

M1A2s were expected to take more than a year, Ryder said, a timeline that would have put deliveries sometime in 2024.

Ukraine will also receive advanced Patriot air defences sooner than originally anticipated.

"We’re confident that we’ll be able to get the Patriots there on an expedited timeline," Ryder said, noting that Ukrainians being trained on the system "went faster than expected, just given their propensity and their eagerness to do the training."

The United States has spearheaded the push for international support for Ukraine, quickly forging an international coalition to back Kyiv after Russia invaded in February 2022 and coordinating aid from dozens of countries.

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