Deliveries of US Abrams tanks to Ukraine will begin soon, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced on Tuesday.
Speaking in Germany at a meeting of the so-called Contact Group on Defense, which is attended by representatives of nearly five dozen countries, Austin stressed that the appearance of American tanks will significantly expand the capabilities of Ukraine’s armored forces. A member of the US delegation specified that the first Abrams tanks would be handed over to Kiev in the coming days. They are already on the territory of a European country.
The USA has promised to supply Ukraine with 31 Abrams tanks. The ammunition used will be 120 mm depleted uranium shells, which have an increased armor-piercing capacity and were once created to combat Soviet tanks.
Ukrainian servicemen began training to operate the tanks in June. The training course normally takes six months, but Ukrainians can be trained in a shorter time frame.
At the same time, Pentagon officials reported that the necessary infrastructure and conditions have already been established to repair and restore tanks damaged during the fighting.
Senior U.S. military officials also expressed hope for the success of the ongoing AFU counteroffensive. “Ukraine continues to make focused, steady progress in liberating its territory from Russian occupation”, said Gen. Mark Milley, head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. – “By today, Ukraine has liberated more than 54 percent of Russian-occupied territory, and it continues to hold the strategic initiative”.