M1 Abrams tanks to enter Ukraine 'soon': US Defence Secretary
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin describes the capability of the M1 Abrams as 'formidable' after they join the Leopards that are already on the battlefield.
According to US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Tuesday, the United States will soon send M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine as Kiev's soldiers progress steadily in their counteroffensive against the forces of Moscow.
Before Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed the UN General Assembly, representatives from dozens of countries that support Kiev met in Germany to negotiate further help for the country.
31 tanks were part of a $43 billion security support pledge made by Washington to Kiev at the beginning of the year after Russia's operation started in Ukraine in February 2022.
"American M1 tanks will be arriving in Ukraine soon that will add another formidable armor capability to join the Leopards that are already on the battlefield," said Austin.
According to a senior US military official, the procedure will be finished in a few weeks after the first tanks are dispatched.
The tanks will be equipped with 120mm depleted uranium ammunition that can penetrate armor.
Such munitions are contentious because they have been linked to health issues like cancer and birth defects in places where they were employed in previous conflicts, even though their causality has not been conclusively established.
The choice to give Ukraine Abrams tanks was a U-turn as American defense officials had previously claimed that Kyiv's forces were too complex for them to be effective.
Prior to his UN speech, Zelensky visited wounded Ukrainian soldiers at a hospital after his arrival in the nation. The UN presentation will take place as the Ukrainian military continues its slow-moving, high-stakes counteroffensive to retake territory from Russian forces.
One of Ukraine's top US backers makes U-turn on Kiev
In a recent town hall meeting, GOP Representative Andy Harris, a member of the hard-right House Freedom Caucus and co-chair of the Congressional Ukraine Caucus, expressed reservations about continuing direct US aid to Ukraine.
This shift in stance by Harris, a staunch ally of Ukraine and a main backer of Kiev, raised eyebrows within the Republican Party, while also reflecting the Red Party's evolving position on the issue of supporting Ukraine.
Harris's remarks came during a presentation on the national debt, where he questioned the effectiveness of ongoing aid efforts to Ukraine.
The first package this year was a $3 billion package in military aid to Ukraine, which included Bradley military vehicles, self-propelled Howitzer artillery guns, MRAPS vehicles, Sea Sparrow missiles, and ammo, among other military materials and equipment.
Harris characterized Ukraine's spring counteroffensive as a failure and expressed doubts about how likely Ukraine is to emerge victorious from the war. Despite his Ukrainian heritage and previous support for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Harris appears to be reconsidering his position.