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AP: US to speed up delivery of Abrams tanks to Ukraine
The U.S. Defense Department will accelerate its supply of Abrams tanks to Ukraine, deciding to send a refurbished older tank model from stocks, the Associated Press reported on March 21, citing unnamed U.S. officials.
Officials said the older version of Abrams, M1A1, could arrive in Ukraine in eight to ten months, compared to the initial plan of handing over 31 newer M1A2 vehicles, which would need a year or two to be produced and shipped.
It will also be easier for Ukrainian troops to learn how to use and maintain the M1A1 than the more modern version, according to the AP sources.
The Pentagon has already made the corresponding decision and is expected to announce it on March 21, said the U.S. officials who spoke out anonymously.
U.S. Army Secretary Christine Wormuth told reporters on Feb. 23 that the Abrams tanks the United States pledged to Ukraine might not even arrive until next year.
The country’s president Joe Biden announced the decision to send Abrams tanks to Ukraine in late January after U.S. lawmakers’ call to give the tanks to push Germany to authorize the delivery of German-made Leopard tanks.
Compared with Soviet tanks, which Ukraine and Russia currently use on the battlefield, the mobility and firepower of Western equipment could help Ukraine launch more counteroffensive operations.