US President Joe Biden met with Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky at the White House and announced that the first American Abrams M1 tanks would be delivered to Ukraine within days. Biden assured Zelensky that the US is committed to supporting Ukraine, stating that “we’re with you. And we’re staying with you.”
In addition to the tanks, Biden also announced the approval of the next tranche of security assistance for Kiev. The Pentagon valued the aid package at $325 million and stated that it includes air defenses, ammunition for HIMARS multiple rocket launchers, anti-tank weapons, and artillery rounds. However, the long-range ATACMS missiles, which Ukraine had been requesting from the US for months, were not included in the new round of military aid.
Biden emphasized that the US support for Ukraine is about “the future of freedom,” and that America will never walk away from its commitment to Ukraine. Zelensky expressed gratitude for the assistance, stating that the aid package is exactly what Ukrainian soldiers need.
The delivery of the Abrams tanks comes after the US pledged in January to provide Ukraine with 31 of these battle tanks. The tanks will be of the older M1A1 variant, which does not have the most advanced technologies. Along with the tanks, the US will also send 120mm armor-piercing depleted uranium rounds to Ukraine. It is important to note that there are concerns regarding the health effects of these shells, as some studies have linked them to cancer and other health problems.
The arrival of the tanks is significant as it comes almost four months after the launch of Kiev’s counteroffensive and ahead of the upcoming mud season in the region, which could hinder offensive operations. General Mark Milley, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, has previously stated that Ukraine has “about 30 to 45 days’ worth of fighting weather left.”
During the counteroffensive, Ukraine has been using German-made Leopard 2 tanks, US-made Bradley fighting vehicles, and British Challenger 2 tanks. However, Ukraine has been unsuccessful in achieving its objective of splitting the Russian front in two in Zaporozhye Region. Despite the use of Western hardware, Kiev has only managed to capture a few small villages away from the main Russian defense lines. Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed that Ukraine has lost over 71,000 troops and 540 tanks since the beginning of summer.
The US’s support and provision of military aid to Ukraine highlight the ongoing tensions between Ukraine and Russia. The conflict in Eastern Ukraine remains unresolved, and the US continues to play a role in supporting Ukraine’s defense capabilities. The delivery of the Abrams tanks serves as a tangible demonstration of the US’s commitment to Ukraine’s security and sovereignty.
Overall, the aid package and delivery of tanks strengthen the US-Ukraine partnership and send a message to Russia that the US will stand by Ukraine in its efforts to defend itself. The support from the US provides Ukraine with crucial resources to bolster its defense capabilities and continue its fight against Russian aggression.