US officials: Ukraine may receive Abrams tanks from the US in the fall


The United States plans to expedite the delivery of Abrams tanks to Ukraine, providing Kiev with vital equipment as early as this fall, in order to defend itself against Russian forces, a Pentagon official said on Tuesday.

The United States pledged in January to supply Ukraine with 31 advanced M1A2 Abrams tanks, after rejecting the idea of ​​deploying the difficult-to-maintain tanks there for months.

US officials and a source familiar with the matter told Reuters earlier that the timing of the delivery had changed.

The new plan would give Ukraine M1-A1 Abrams tanks that can be diesel-powered like most of the Ukrainian fleet, an official said, and the change speeds up delivery by about a year, according to a congressional aide briefed on the plan.

“The department, in close coordination with Ukraine, has made the decision to provide the M1-A1 variant of the Abrams tank, which will enable us to significantly accelerate delivery times and deliver this critical capability to Ukraine by this fall,” Pentagon spokesman Patrick Ryder said.

The Pentagon didn’t previously reveal any specific date for handing over the tanks to the Ukrainians, saying only that it would take months”.

A congressional aide briefed on the plan told Reuters that US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin explored several options to expedite the delivery.

Those options include changing locations in the delivery queue or using American tanks that have had sensitive equipment removed so they cannot be captured and studied by Russian forces.

The General Dynamics production line currently manufactures about 12 Abrams tanks per month.

Ryder said the M1A2 tanks would be sourced from government-owned entities and refurbished specifically for Ukraine.

The money to modify or purchase Abrams tanks will come from a fund known as the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, which allows President Joe Biden’s administration to obtain weapons from industry rather than drawing from US stockpiles.

The Pentagon allocated $400 million of the initiative’s funds in January for tanks for 31 M1A2 tanks initially slated for shipment.

Ryder said that this same money will be used to manufacture this batch of M1A1 tanks.

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