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Austin says Ukraine will receive Abrams tanks 'soon'

by Dinara Khalilova and The Kyiv Independent news desk September 19, 2023 12:44 PM 2 min read
United States Secretary of Defense LLoyd Austin (L) and new Ukrainian Defense Minister Rustem Umerov attend the 15th meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group at Ramstein Air Base on Sept. 19, 2023 in Ramstein-Miesenbach, Germany. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
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Ukraine will "soon" receive M1 Abrams tanks committed by the U.S., Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said while delivering opening remarks at the 15th Ramstein summit.

Austin didn't specify how many vehicles would be delivered in the first batch. Earlier, Politico reported that the first 10 out of 31 promised tanks were scheduled to arrive in Ukraine in mid-September.

The tanks, which offer greater mobility and firepower than Soviet battle tanks, are expected to support Ukraine's defensive and offensive efforts. The shipments may add momentum to the counteroffensive, which has begun to break through Russian lines of defense.

On Sept. 19, defense leaders of some 50 nations gathered for the Ukraine Defense Contact Group meeting at Ramstein NATO base in Germany. The format coordinates the efforts of the U.S. and its allies to provide military aid to Ukraine.

What will it take for Ukraine to maintain and operate the M1 Abrams?
The Ukrainian military has passed another milestone by starting to master the M1 Abrams, the top-notch main battle tank to be provided by the U.S. According to the Pentagon, some 400 Ukrainians are training for the job at U.S. Army bases in Germany. After many months of deliberations

In his opening remarks, Austin urged allies to step up the provision of ground-based air defense systems and ammunition to Ukraine.

"Ukraine's counteroffensive continues to make steady forward progress. And brave Ukrainian troops are breaking through the heavily fortified lines of Russia's army of aggression," the U.S. official said.

"But Ukraine's recent gains also hinge on the crucial capabilities provided by the members of this Contact Group. And our shared commitment will be vital during the current battles—and for the long road ahead."

According to Austin, Washington and other international partners have committed more than $76 billion in direct security assistance to Ukraine since the first Contact Group meeting in April 2022.

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