Wednesday Mar 22, 2023
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.