(c) Reuters. U.S. M1A2 “Abrams” tank fires during U.S.-led joint military exercise “Noble Partner 2016”, near Vaziani in Georgia, May 18, 2016, REUTERS/David Mdzinarishvili/File Photo
By Anna Voitenko
DONETSK REGION, Ukraine (Reuters) – Ukrainian tank crews in the eastern front see the first delivery of U.S. Abrams tanks to Kyiv as a boost that will offer them more protection and firepower in battle.
President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Monday that Ukraine had taken delivery of its first shipment of U.S. jet-powered Abrams tanks to help in the defence against Russia’s invasion.
Mark Milley, the top U.S. general, has said he regards M1 Abrams tanks as the world’s best and that they “will make a difference” in the 19-month-old war. With a powerful engine, 120 mm main gun and special armour, the Abrams tank is particularly lethal against heavy armour forces.
Ukrainian tank crews training in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine said that once they were deployed, the Abrams tanks would be a big step up from the Soviet-era tanks they are currently operating.
“The Abrams tank….has protection against ammunition detonation. This tank does not have this protection. It would be better if we had foreign weapons. He said that the armor is better, and the tanks are more effective. Very quick. There are only a few shells left. “
LARGE NUMBER OF RUSSIAN TROOPS
In January, the U.S. pledged to supply Ukraine with 31 advanced M1A2 Abrams tanks after months of shunning the idea of deploying the difficult-to-maintain tanks to Ukraine. Zelenskiy has not said how many tanks have been delivered.
The Kremlin stated this week that U.S. military hardware, such as Abrams tanks, would not alter the situation on battlefield. Milley also stated that there is no “silver-bullet” for ending wars. Although Kyiv has received Western weapons, the progress against Russian troops on the eastern front is slow. Oleksandr stated that “big numbers are what makes progress.” “For instance, we know they have more tanks in Ukraine than we do. We will win if we have more weapons, and we can confront their two tanks with four of ours. “
Oleksandr stated that his list of Western military assistance included ammunition, artillery, fighter planes and tanks. “And more men because infantry are being wounded and killed,” he said.