US speeds delivery of Abrams tanks to Ukraine


The United States is facilitating the delivery of tanks to Ukraine by offering variations in armor capabilities that differ from those previously determined.

Ukraine will continue to receive a full battalion of Abrams tanks from the US, but will get the M1A1 variant instead of the M1A2 variant. The M1A1 is a slightly older variant with similar armament but older electronic systems and different tracks.

“[Department of Defense] The United States announced in January that it would provide 31 M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine under the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative to provide a variant of the M1A2,” Pentagon spokesman Brig said. General Pat Ryder during a March 21 press conference.

“However, since this announcement, we have been dedicated to exploring options to deliver armored functionality as soon as possible.”

Ryder added that after in-depth bilateral research and analysis, Ukrainian and U.S. officials concluded that expediting the delivery of tanks by sending M1A1 variants would be more beneficial than waiting for M1A2.

“…The decision to deliver the M1A1 variant of the Abrams tank will allow us to significantly shorten our delivery schedule and deliver this important feature to Ukraine by the fall of this year,” Ryder said.

“This is about putting this vital combat capability into Ukrainian hands sooner or later.”

Ryder also said the US would eventually offer “very similar features to the M1A2, including advanced armor and weapons systems” such as a 120 mm autocannon and a .50 caliber heavy machine gun.

The announcement follows the withdrawal of an additional $350 million military aid package on March 20, the 34th since Russia’s attempts to conquer Ukraine began.

The recent cuts will give Ukraine ammunition for its High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), .155 mm field artillery ammunition, and small arms ammunition.

Ukraine is now preparing to fend off a spring offensive by Russian forces, carrying out several attacks in recent weeks on occupied territories in Crimea and Donbass.

Meanwhile, Russian and Chinese officials have suggested a political resolution to the dispute, but the United States has dismissed it as a ruse for Russia to justify its conquest and prepare for future attacks.