United States President Joe Biden has introduced that the primary US-made Abrams tanks might be delivered to Ukraine subsequent week, an important supply at a time when Ukrainian forces are engaged in brutal combating on the entrance strains with Russia after months of a slow-moving counteroffensive.
Biden made the announcement on Thursday after assembly with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Washington, DC, the place the US unveiled a brand new $325m navy help bundle for Ukraine.
“Next week, the first US Abrams tanks will be delivered in Ukraine,” Biden stated on the White House, alongside Zelenskyy, who was making his second go to to the US for the reason that Russian invasion in February 2022.
This is what we know about the newest US navy help and the importance of the US military’s prime tank for Ukrainian forces:
- The M1 Abrams tank is taken into account a state-of-the-art weapon and extra highly effective than many Soviet-era tanks presently operated by Russian and Ukrainian forces.
- Washington initially promised that 31 Abrams battle tanks can be delivered to Kyiv firstly of the 12 months.
- A supply date for the Abrams was then adjusted with the Pentagon talking of a date later in the 12 months.
- Washington’s determination to supply Abrams tanks to Ukraine represented a substantial U-turn as US defence officers had repeatedly stated that the Abrams have been ill-suited for Kyiv’s forces as a result of complexity of logistics to maintain them equipped with components, gas and ammunition, and the complicated nature of their operation.
- Sydney Freedberg, a contributing editor of the digital journal Breaking Defence, advised Al Jazeera earlier this 12 months that as a result of Abrams tanks are used considerably much less throughout Europe, Ukraine could battle to deal with logistic infrastructure reminiscent of acquiring spare components, warehousing and common upkeep. The four-person tank can also be complicated to function.
- The US Army Europe and Africa Spokesperson Colonel Martin O’Donnell stated final month that 200 Ukrainian servicemen have been finishing the ultimate phases of coaching to function the Abrams tanks, in line with the Washington, DC-based assume tank, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW).
- The Abrams tanks arriving in Ukraine subsequent week might be paired with 120mm armour-piercing depleted uranium rounds.
- The use of depleted uranium munitions is very controversial as a result of affiliation of such ammunition with well being issues, together with most cancers and start defects, in areas the place they have been used in previous conflicts.
- Al Jazeera’s defence analyst Alex Gatopoulos has stated that the latest-generation predominant battle tanks, such because the Abrams and the German-made Leopard 2 tanks, are very important for Ukraine to punch holes in Russian defensive strains.
- Southern Ukraine is flat and supreme tank territory. But Russia has spent months constructing complicated defensive fortifications involving deep trenches, large minefields and bolstered combating bunkers alongside its entrance strains.
- Ukrainian official have persistently referred to the energy of the Russian defensive strains as a key motive for the gradual progress of their ongoing counteroffensive.
- The Abrams tanks is perhaps arriving at a key second in the counteroffensive.
- The ISW reported on Thursday that Ukrainian armoured autos are actually working behind the “final line of the Russian defensive layer” in the western Zaporizhia area the place Ukraine has penetrated.
- Ukrainian armour seems to have superior past “Russian anti-tank ditches and dragon’s teeth obstacles that are part of a tri-layered defence” in the area, the ISW stated, including that it was the primary noticed occasion of Ukraine’s heavy armour working past the tri-layer strains.
- “The Ukrainian ability to bring armoured vehicles to and through the most formidable Russian defences intended to stop them and to operate these vehicles near prepared Russian defensive positions are important signs of progress in the Ukrainian counteroffensive,” the ISW stated.
NEW: #Ukrainian armored autos are working past the ultimate line of the #Russian defensive layer that Ukrainian forces in western #Zaporizhia Oblast are presently penetrating, though ISW shouldn’t be but ready to evaluate that Ukrainian forces have damaged absolutely by means of this… pic.twitter.com/ALjaUhkFb0
— ISW (@TheStudyofWar) September 22, 2023
What the bundle didn’t embrace: ATACMS
- The new navy help bundle introduced by Biden additionally contains air defence missiles, ammunition for HIMARS precision rocket launchers, anti-tank weapons and artillery rounds.
- Included are also 155mm rounds that comprise extremely controversial cluster munitions, which Washington first agreed to supply to Ukraine in July regardless of considerations over the long-term threat posed to civilians by bomblets that fail to blow up.
- The US stated it has obtained assurances from Kyiv that it will minimise the chance the weapons pose to civilians, together with by not utilizing the munitions in populated areas.
- Long-range ATACMS missiles – which have a variety of as much as 300km (186 miles) – weren’t included in the bundle regardless of Ukraine repeatedly requesting entry to such weapons in order to hit Russia’s rear-area provide strains and logistics.
- Zelenskyy stated after assembly with Biden that the brand new navy help was very highly effective and included “exactly what our soldiers need now”.
- Zelenskyy thanked the US for strengthening Ukraine’s air defence forward of the approaching winter season. The Ukrainian chief pressured that he was not simply grateful for the newest help bundle, however for Washington’s assist throughout “all 575 days” of battle, to date.
- The US has despatched some $113bn in navy and humanitarian help to Ukraine since Russia invaded in February 2022.