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16 Nov, 2023 08:16

US Abrams tanks made no difference – Zelensky

The Ukrainian president told the media that the 31 donated vehicles were too few to become a game changer
US Abrams tanks made no difference – Zelensky

The M1A1 Abrams main battle tanks provided to Ukraine by the US have hardly made a difference on the battlefield, President Vladimir Zelensky said in a discussion with journalists from several African nations published by his office on Wednesday.

Zelensky explained that the batch of 31 vehicles, which were fully delivered by mid-October, is too small. While praising the American weapon’s quality, he said, “So far, I can hardly say that they play a particularly important role on the battlefield. There are too few of them.”

“For better or for worse, we have many different kinds of tanks,” the Ukrainian president said, describing the US-provided variant as but one part of the fleet.

These remarks align with what Col. Martin O’Donnell, a US Army Europe and Africa spokesman, told the media as he confirmed the completion of Washington’s handover of the units to Kiev. He said, “The Abrams tank is one hell of an armored vehicle, but it’s not a silver bullet.”

In January, the US agreed to supply Ukraine with enough Abrams tanks to arm a single battalion as part of its military assistance against Russia. The delivery started in September and was completed a month later. Previously, the Pentagon argued against sending the tanks, saying that Abrams was too difficult and expensive to operate to be of much use to Kiev.

The range of weapons sent to Kiev by its Western donors has been described as a “zoo” by Ukrainian troops. According to Western media reports, this variability causes issues with the compatibility of munitions, adds to the challenge of repairing damaged hardware, and makes training soldiers on how to operate weapon platforms more cumbersome.

The Ukrainian military has incorporated a diverse range of armored vehicles into its arsenal, including French AMX-10RC fighting vehicles, German Leopard tanks, British Challenger 2 tanks, and American Abrams tanks. These supplies were anticipated to enhance Kiev’s capabilities for breaking through Russian defensive lines during the summer. However, the anticipated counteroffensive did not yield the desired success.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov reacted to the news of the Abrams tank’s arrival in Ukraine at the time by stating, “These will burn too.”