The first batch of US Abrams tanks will arrive in Ukraine in September, it will include 6 to 8 vehicles, Politico quoted sources in the Pentagon and the US Congress as saying.
In August, the tanks will be delivered to Germany for re-equipment and then handed over to the Ukrainian Armed Forces. The military will receive the M1A1 model instead of the more modern M1A2, which would have taken much longer to deliver. In addition, the Abrams will be stripped of the most sensitive technologies, including depleted uranium armor, before shipment.
In total, the U.S. will transfer 31 tanks to Kiev, which corresponds to one battalion of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. Before the Ukrainian troops can start operating them, they must undergo a ten-week training course at the Grafenwoehr base in Germany. According to the Pentagon representative, the training will be completed in August.
The New York Times earlier reported that the US had radically revised the schedule for the delivery of Abrams to Ukraine, citing the US military. According to them, this was done to support the Ukrainian army’s counter-offensive: the tanks will arrive just in time to help the AFU defend the liberated territory.
On the eve it became known that Ukraine began a new phase of the offensive and chose the target of the main strike. The AFU command informed the USA that the reinforced groups would try to advance southward through minefields and other fortifications to Tokmak and then to Melitopol.
It was also reported that the AFU occupied key heights for a breakthrough in Zaporizhzhya and Bakhmut: Staromayorske and Klishchiivka. The video with the Ukrainian military in Staromayorske was published by President Volodymyr Zelensky. According to the country’s Deputy Defense Minister Anna Malyar, they “continue to mop up the settlement”.
The loss of Staromayorskoye may lead to a breakthrough to the rear of the defending group – in this direction the AFU planned to cut the “land road” to Crimea, said Igor Strelkov, former defense minister of the self-proclaimed DNR, who was sentenced in absentia to life imprisonment by a Dutch court in the case of the downed Malaysian Boeing.
Staromayorskoye is located on the border of Donetsk and Zaporizhzhya regions. Since the beginning of the counteroffensive, the Ukrainian armed forces have liberated at least six settlements in this area that had been captured by the Russian army.